12 December 2018

Zimbabwe: Doctors Praised for Calling Off Strike

Photo: New Zim TV/YouTube
Striking doctors in Zimbabwe.

Mashonaland West Bureau — Government has welcomed the move by most doctors to return to work to give ongoing negotiations a chance saying efforts were being made to address their concerns. While noting isolated cases of striking doctors, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the majority have heeded Government's call to allow for negotiations to continue.

"We continue encouraging all the doctors who are not coming to work to report back to work while negotiations are being finalised," he said.

"We have had the bipartite meetings and so negotiations have started. We want them to be patience and look after their patients."

He said the Health Services Board was looking at the doctor's grievances after he met with representatives of the doctors.

The process, he said, had to be formalised through the Apex Council and the Bipartite Forum.

He said Government has considered some of the grievances related to medical supplies and had made funds available.

"We have looked at some of the issues like the supplies and we will be getting those since arrangements have been put in place for us to be able to get them," he said.

While foreign currency has been a challenge, he said Government had managed to get some medicines, medical products and sundries into the country.

These, he said, should start trickling into medical centres across the country. He said doctors should be at work while Government restocks medicines.

Dialogue

Turning to the issue of pharmacies demanding foreign currency for medicines, Dr Moyo said most of them had heeded Government's calls to accept RTGS and medical aid.

"The message from the Head of State (President Mnangagwa) was loud and clear. He asked everyone to take heed, otherwise there will be some consequences," he said.

"I am glad that most are taking heed and we encourage all those who are still selling in foreign currency to accept medical aid cards and bond notes."

Some doctors at mostly central hospitals went on strike last Saturday to press for a review of their working conditions but the majority have called for dialogue.

The strike has mostly affected hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo but has been largely ignored by doctors in other regions.

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