Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Doctors, govt in crunch meeting

By Caroline Chiimba

Ministry of Health and Child Care will hold crunch talks with striking doctors tomorrow as it bids to end their industrial action which has crippled services across the country’s public hospitals.

The doctors are demanding a review of their salaries and better working conditions.
File picture of doctors at work

Tomorrow’s meeting will also bring together the Health Services Board and the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA).

HDA secretary-general Mthabisi Bhebhe said doctors were ready to negotiate to end the strike.

“We recognise the effort of… minister Obadiah Moyo in creating a negotiation platform for the grievances to be addressed.

“All such meetings in our view could have been done in the shortest possible time but the response was deliberately sluggish.

“As it stands, doctors remain on industrial action and the situation in our hospitals has grown increasingly dire as we approach the festive season, we therefore call on our employer to be more serious with the health care of the nation and not sabotage vision 2030,” Bhebhe said.

The striking doctors are protesting the severe shortages of pharmaceutical drugs at public hospitals — as well as the selling of available drugs in foreign currency by retail pharmacies, the poor state of the country’s hospital infrastructure and their “falling” salaries which they now want the government to pay in foreign currency.

Zimbabwe’s health delivery system has for a while now been battling myriad problems, as a result of the country’s worsening economic climate.

In the past, major referral hospitals have had to suspend many services as a result of shortages of drugs, including painkillers.

At the peak of its economy, Zimbabwe made minimal imports of essential drugs due to the then healthy state of the local pharmaceutical industry which was dominated by CAPS Holdings. DailyNews