We Are Not Moved By Minister Moyo’s Threats Says Striking Doctors

STRIKING junior doctors find Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo’s threats appalling urging him to come up with ways to capacitate them.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

This follows the Health Minister’s remarks on Saturday that striking doctors now on their 36th off duty would face disciplinary action should they fail to return to work on Monday. Addressing doctors at a demonstration at the Health Service Board offices, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Acting Secretary General Dr Tawanda Zvakada said the Health Minister’s statement not have been sinister.

We are aware of the remarks made by our Minister on the afternoon of Saturday, October 5, whereby he was calling on doctors to report to work today at 0800hours.

“It’s so unfortunate that those remarks do not capacitate a single doctor needless to say all the doctors nationwide. So we hope our Honourable or esteemed minister will come up with ways that can capacitate doctors which are not threatening but rather enticing,” he said.

The junior doctors tendered their formal written exit from the Health Apex Council, a negotiator within the Health Service Bipartite panel. Also in this panel is the Health Service Board.

“Concerning the health apex council a channel for negotiations between the employer and the employee. As of today the recognized and legally binding platform for negotiation is the health service bipartite negotiating panel which is governed by the statutory instruments 111 and 113.

“Its structured in a way that there is six from each side. Six from the employer, six from the employees and one neutral chairperson. From the employee side, we have 20 different associations which are recognized in the healthcare system of which ZHDA is one of them. So from the 20 we come up with six strong representatives sitting at the health apex council which is currently being led by our team leader Mr Chivese,” Dr Takavada.

Dr Takavada added  that they found several loopholes within the Health Apex Council.

“So that health apex council to date has no governing constitution or statutory instruments. So we have identified loopholes in this health apex council whereby a decision has impact from the hospital health cleaners not to undermine them but to the junior and middle level doctors, excluding the specialist doctors.

“So when problems arise within the healthcare system this current negotiation platform has loopholes and it cannot resolve disputes within reasonable timeframes because the health apex council’s will vote on the offer presented by the government. So you will find that other associations will vote for that offer but ZHDA resoundingly declining that offer because this has a legal implications ending in those agreed figures being punched into our accounts. So we decided and saw that this has a weakness. So as Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association we are now pulling out of the Health Apex. So we have termed it Apexit,” he said.

He also said, “So on Friday last week, we bid farewell to the Health Apex Council and we made our oral announcement that we are intending to leave the Health Apex Council. So today we are completing another step where we are handing a letter saying are exiting the Health Apex Council.”

ZHDA interim vice president Dr Dean Ndoro said, “We feel it’s the employer’s responsibility to come up with a platform for us to recommence negotiations. So it’s up to the employer. The apexit is us the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association exiting from the health apex council whereby we feel our grievances are not being addressed. It’s up to the employer to come up with ways of having a separate platform where we can negotiate.”

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