Zimbabwe's public health delivery system is currently grounded following a move by both doctors and nurses to down tools protesting the abduction of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) Dr Peter Magombeyi by suspected state security agents on Saturday night.
Hundreds of doctors and radiographers, holding placards, marched through central Harare before riot police allowed a handful of them to proceed to present a petition at Mnangagwa's office.
The medical professionals have vowed never to return to work Magombeyi has been accounted for.
In an interview with 263Chat, a patient (name withheld), broke down narrating how she was discharged without any signs of recovery owing to the doctor's strike at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
"I accidental got burnt by boiling water. The burns are very painful and as you can see my whole back is a mess, I can't wear clothes properly because they will stick on the burns, but what is shocking me is that the nurses just told me to go home as the doctors cannot attend to me due to the strike. I don't know what to do now, I cannot afford to go to a private hospital," she sobbed bitterly.
In an interview with one of the mothers whose child (9) in the PEADS ward A5 was recently operated after succumbing to a brain tumor, said she is very worried about her child's health as the doctor's strike started soon after her child had a surgery.
"I'm worried about the recovery of my daughter as the doctor is no longer coming to check the progress. The nurses are their but still I feel the doctor's presence is needed otherwise my child may stay in hospital longer than expected," the mother said.
Most of the patients are getting discharged despite their health conditions. Most of the people that come to general hospitals cannot afford private hospitals hence the whole strike is brewing a disaster in the health care system.
"My child is only nine years old and she is in the Intensive Care Unit(ICU) suffering from Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system. The Doctors strike is worrying me because the surgeon is not coming at all. I'm worried about my child," said the mother.
Although ZHDA represents mainly junior doctors at public hospitals, some senior doctors and consultants joined the march in solidarity.
Several civil society and opposition activists have also been allegedly abducted and tortured by suspected security agents, but government has also denied responsibility.
Similar protests were held at the United Bulawayo and Mpilo Central hospitals, where the doctors were addressed by ZHDA secretary-general Mthabisi Bhebhe.
Mpilo clinical director Solwayo Ngwenya said only 80 of the over 200 doctors at the institution were on strike.
Senior doctors also wrote to Mnangagwa, saying they had withdrawn their services with effect from yesterday.
"We the senior doctors (specialists) working in the government health institutions met today September 16, 2019 at Parirenyatwa Hospital. We deliberated on the disappearance of our colleague, Dr Peter Magombeyi, which was reported at Budiriro Police Station (under) RRB number 4085997. Dr Magombeyi's whereabouts remain unknown and we are seriously concerned about his welfare," the petition read.