ZIMBABWEAN doctors have been incensed by Government’s remarks that the strike was called off maintaining that it is still on going.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
With more doctors joining the industrial action, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association in a statement rubbished Health and Childcare minister Dr Obadiah Moyo’s televised announcement that the strike was over.
“We wish to set the record straight that the industrial action that started on the 1. of December 2018 is still ongoing and the healthcare crisis in the country has reached an unprecedented critical level. Instead of addressing what is now perceived as a serious national health crisis, the Minister of health seems to display an ‘I do not care’ and it is business as usual approach.
“We are even greatly disturbed to learn that the Minister of Health went on national television in the evening of yesterday to misinform the whole nation that the ongoing industrial action has been called off. He went on to acknowledge; there is a serious shortage of vital medicines in public hospitals but nothing was being done,” said the organisation.
In its fourth day, the industrial action has seen hospitals operating at measly capacities.
“Today marks the 4th day since the industrial action was declared. All central hospitals in the country are now operating at very low capacity. There is fear that if immediate and robust interventions are not done to address the crisis, all public health institutions might collapse Out of deep concern, we call upon the Minister of Health to stop engaging in activities that are purely in contradiction to a man of his statue,” ZDHA said.
The Health Minister said the industrial strike by the doctors was illegal. “The junior doctors embarked on industrial action, but this is illegal. They should have gone through a process of notifying the Health Services Board and making sure that everyone is aware, unfortunately that wasn’t done.
“We had a meeting with the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association and they explained the situation and they agreed that the industrial action was illegal,” he said.
The doctors’ body also clarified that they ejected some members from their association.
“We wish to also inform relevant authorities, key stakeholders, members of the press and public that the individuals by the name Dr Tsopo A and Dr Mugoni P are no longer standing as ZHDA National Executive Committee; neither do they represent doctors on any business. The Minister is fully aware of these developments. Whatever the aforementioned individuals pronounce and execute is now entirely out of their own interests, ambitions and personal business. We doubt their motives, opinions and interests have anything constructive to do with patients’ healthcare or doctors’ welfare. We further reiterate that, Dr Mugoni Patrick was suspended and dismissed way-before the expiry of his term in office after he was accused of gross misconduct and violation of ZHDA constitution. That he chooses to continue using ZHDA property and name for his own interests and motives, is a serious criminal offense that the current ZHDA national executive members must have to pursue,” said ZHDA.
Addressing the media at a press conference on Tuesday, Dr Moyo said he is willing to engage the disgruntled doctors at anytime.
“I have no problem with meeting workers whatsoever. It is my strong belief that there has to be engagement and dialogue on a continuous basis. I have no problem with meeting the junior doctors and be able to pave the way in discussing issues. I met the other group yesterday. Naturally I would like to meet everyone who is aggrieved. We want to meet everyone and talk to come up with solutions,” he said.