By Farayi Machamire
Zimbabwe’s health system has been plunged deeper into crisis after the country’s Health Service Board discharged an additional 134 doctors for absenting themselves from duty without leave or reasonable cause for days ranging from five or more.
The doctors downed tools over two months ago demanding the pegging of their salaries to the prevailing interbank rate as a precondition for their return to work.
The doctors are also demanding that government capacitates hospitals with basic health services to enable them to save lives.
A total 516 out of 1,601 medical doctors employed in the public sector are expected to appear before the disciplinary tribunals.
In a statement Friday afternoon, HSB said 211 doctors “found guilty have been discharged from the health service”. Three (3) doctors appeared in person before the disciplinary tribunals and two (2) doctors had their determinations reserved pending verification of their cases,” HSB said.
“Cognizant of the need for continuous dialogue with its employees, on 10 October 2019, the Health Service Board met with both the Senior and Junior doctors.
“On 29 October 2019, the HSB again met the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) in the presence of the Executive Director for the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) where the ZHDA presented a position paper,” HSB said.
“Again, the ZHDA demanded the pegging of their salaries to the prevailing interbank rate as a precondition for their return to work.
“In line with section 4 of the Labour Act (National Employment Code of Conduct), the disciplinary hearings continue, whereby 516 out of 1,601 medical doctors employed in the public sector are expected to appear before the disciplinary tribunals,” the board added.
Doctors have said they want to go back to work, but were without the means to do so.
“On September 3, 2019, doctors nationwide made it clear that they were not embarking on a strike but that they had become incapacitated. The will and desire is there, but the means to execute their duties does not exist,” ZHDA is on record as saying. Zim Morning Post