THE Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZDHA) has written a hard hitting letter to the newly appointed Health Services Board (HSB) board over failure by the previous board to fully address doctors concerns which were raised during the just ended one month long doctors strike.
By Michael Gwarisa
In an interview, ZDHA secretary general, Dr Mxolisi Ngwenya said they had given the new HSB board a 14 day ultimatum to resolve the the issues that were left handing by their predecessors, citing that the HSB had failed to respect the collective bargaining agreement which was reached in march leading to the end of the strike
“We have long standing issues that we have raised with our employer the HSB and after we had embarked in an industrial action in March this year, we had reached an agreement where we were saying we would compromise on behalf of our patients.
“But ever since the last meeting that we had with the HSB, the bipartite negotiating panel when we signed an agreement to say we are going back to work, the HSB has since twisted from engaging in communication between them and us as the workers. The last time we have had any meaningful dialogue with them was on March 1, 2018, so we have then since forwarded to them several times issues of concerns amongst our members,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He added that a number Junior doctors were working but yet to be added onto the payroll and were thus doing community service a situation which has worsened livelihoods of the medical practitioners.
“We have other crops of junior doctors that have come up again who are supposed to be assimilated into the system in July, but they still say that there is no treasury concurrence. Furthermore they went on to violet the collective bargaining agreement to that which ended the industrial action.
“After increasing the on call allowances of our members, they went on to unilaterally cut them again and have since not reinstated them stating that the cut was effected by the ministry of finance. We are really at loggerheads because the ministry of finance also stated that they availed $10 million for doctors to be able to take out loans and repay them after buying vehicles to ferry them to work but this money since February has not seen the light of day.”
He also said the new board must be aware and prepared to resolve these issues as failure to do so would plunge the health sector into another quagmire.
“We are now unsure whether the board is sincere with us this is why we have been saying to the new board, you know our issues is you have been following these issues and hope these appointment is by merit therefore you have the power to effect these changes within that 14 day period.”
The new board however has only been in place for a week but Ngwenya argues that the secretariat and the ministry are aware of the issues at hand and the new board should be aware of the issues and are mandated to work on behalf of the health employees.
The March industrial action almost crippled the health sector as business came to a stand still in various public health institutions while lives were lost as a result.