A nationwide industrial action by medical doctors is brewing with indications that the strike could kick off tomorrow December 1, 2018, Healthtimes can reveal.
By Michael Gwarisa
The development comes barely a few days after government trough treasury, extended bonus payments to all health workers in government health institutions.
The strike according to the Doctors National Committee (DNC) has been necessitated by poor working conditions which include failure by government to pay them in Foreign Currency, shortage of medical equipment and supplies among a host of others.
In a letter written to the Health Services Board (HSB), DNC said doctors could no longer continue under the current conditions. They also lampooned the ministry of health and child care (MoHCC) and HSB for deliberatly ignoring doctors demands which they tabled early this year.
“On behalf of our membership, we hereby bring to your attention that doctors nationwide have agreed to engage into an industrial action as a result of severe incapacitation and inability to withstand the current disabling working environment.
“The ministry is also reminded that a number of number of concerns have been raised in our letters, dated as back as 22 October 2018, regarding the deteriorating state of the healthcare system in the country,” said DNC.
They added that the prevailing economic environment was making life unbearable for medical practitioners whole monthly earnings fall short of their daily needs.
“Of particular importance is the recently experienced acute shortage of fuel and increase in transport costs which has overwhelmed and incapacitated healthcare personnel to urgently attend to their duties.
“Furthermore, we bring to your attention other difficult areas that require immediate attention to prevent unnecessary prolonged industrial action. These are in order of significance: Acute shortage of vital and basic theatre consumables, private pharmacies demanding United States Dollars payments and rejecting medical aid, undefined and prolonged working hours, leaving healthcare workers overburdened and fatigued, understaffed workforce, inadequate remuneration in Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) in place of United States dollars as stipulated in our previous binding agreements.”
Other issues they raised include re-evaluation of the vehicle loan scheme to assist healthcare workers with transportation as well increasing on call allowances to US$10 per hour.