IT is a dreary yet bleak Christmas for Zimbabweans as the gridlock between junior doctors and Government is far from over with the former accusing the latter of misinforming the nation.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
In this ensuing verbal and or textual duel alongside the suspension of these doctors, a grimmer festive season plays out in the country’s major hospitals full of unattended expecting mothers, the sick and4einjured.
On Christmas Day, reacting to Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo’s speech on Monday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association representing junior doctors claimed that what he said did not reflect what is obtaining in public health institutions.
For instance, according to doctors, the medicines which recently arrived at the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) have not been delivered to the government owned hospitals.
They argued Moyo’s statement on medicines reaching their ultimate destination, the public hospitals is a lie. On Saturday, ZHDA secretary general Dr Anele Bhebhe told HealthTimes that Government institutions were yet to receive the stock after being told NatPharm was on a two week stock take.
“The said drugs which have been supposedly stocked at NatPharm have not reached any of our government institutions. If indeed the drugs and protective clothing are there, our members have made it clear that these should be seen at hospitals,” Dr Anele said in a statement. “This comes against a background of several promises of medicines and equipment made by the ministry since January this year, with none being fulfilled. In addition, the stated stocks will not last our institutions long (a month to two at most), and we have requested the ministry A set targets and provide timelines as to when the target stocks will be reached, but to no avail.”
But Health Minister Dr Moyo in an urgent press conference on Monday evening stated that hospital started ordering the drugs on December 13.
“NatPharm started to receive medicines as part of a US$2, 2 million emergency order from the 11 th of December 2018. Institutions started ordering these from Natpharm with effect from December 13. Further supplies which are in the country and approved are also awaiting delivery and collection. These commodities include gloves and masks. Beside hospital pharmacies, there will be community based NatPharm retail pharmacies selling medicines at affordable prices,” he said.
Dr Moyo also said doctors who absconded work while on industrial action would not receive their December salaries with those who stayed at work getting theirs.
Meanwhile, the doctors with their lawyers led by Munyaradzi Gwisai will challenge the Labour Court ruling at the Supreme Court.
Read the full statements below