3 January 2019

Zimbabwe: UPDATED: Doctors' Strike: Govt Invites Applications

Photo: The Herald
Health and Child Care Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji

Government has started inviting applications from candidates who have completed five years in Medical School and are ready for internship, as well as foreign-trained doctors meeting local requirements, for placement at public health institutions.

This comes as junior doctors, who went on strike on December 1 last year, have so far refused to return to work despite Government meeting most of their demands.

Of the junior doctors' 10 demands, the Government has met eight and turned down a request for salaries in US dollars and not to take disciplinary action against those who engaged in unlawful industrial action by the Health Services Board (HSB).

In a statement yesterday, Health and Child Care Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji said: "All candidates who successfully completed their Part V Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees in universities in Zimbabwe and are due to take up their first year internship, and foreign-trained doctors who successfully sat for the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe Board examinations and are ready for their first year internship are advised to report at any of the below listed institutions to apply for placements to do the internship. Choice of institution will be on a first come first served basis."

Dr Gwinji said Harare Central Hospital would accommodate 58 placements, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals 57, Mpilo Central Hospital 43, United Bulawayo Hospital 40 and Chitungwiza Central Hospital 6.

"Applicants are directed to submit their applications through the director (human resources) at the Ministry headquarters in office no 4-49, 4th Floor Kaguvi Building, Harare, indicating their choice of institution," said Dr Gwinji.

Radiographers also joined in the strike by junior doctors, crippling service delivery at health institutions and leaving the HSB with no option but to approach the Labour Court for intervention.

The Labour Court last week declared the strike illegal.

Radiographers took heed of the Government plea and returned to work but the junior doctors have so far insisted that Government must first meet all their demands.

Government on New Year announced it was taking a number of measures to bring normalcy to public health institutions.

Sources told The Herald yesterday some anti-Government organisations were actively fuelling the industrial action by the junior doctors, further undermining negotiations between the parties.

"There are well known doctors that have been outside Zimbabwe but coincidentally came back when the strike began. They have been coercing the doctors not to budge until the Government meets their US dollar salary demands," a source revealed.

Fingered in particular is the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights.

"There are organisations purporting to be human rights watchdogs such as the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights that have been meddling in the negotiations, thereby stalling progress," added the source. "The whole thing has been hijacked and gone political instead of being a labour issue."

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