GOVERNMENT has summoned at least 57 senior doctors who downed tools yesterday demanding the reinstatement of the 488 junior doctors who have been fired by government to date.
By Michael Gwarisa
Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) president Dr Shingai Nyaguse told HealthTimes this morning that government was not acting in good faith but was instead pursuing retribution.
Instead of addressing our concerns, they have summoned senior doctors to disciplinary hearings instead. It is unfortunate that they have focused on the punitive disciplinary measures and have done nothing to address the issues of drugs, water and equipment in hospitals,” said Dr Nyaguse.
He also cited that senior doctors countrywide have downed tools and they would resume work once their demands have been met.
Senior doctors downed tools yesterday in solidarity with more than 400 doctors who have since been fired ever since government commenced late October.
Briefing a post cabinet media briefing yesterday, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, Monica Mtsvangwa said government had already sent out letters to the striking senior doctors. In addition to the 508 disciplinary cases heard by the 25th November 2019, an additional 43 doctors from the Provinces are awaiting hearing. Serving of charge letters for 57 Senior Doctors at Central Hospitals commenced on the 25th November, 2019.
Meanwhile, Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Executive Director, Mr Itai Rusike urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to declare the health crisis obtaining in Zimbabwe a national disaster.
“The solidarity and support between the Senior and Junior Doctors is nothing unusual as the senior doctors cannot operate fully in the health institutions without the availability of the junior doctors. We would like to encourage the government to go back to the negotiating table for an honest and genuine dialogue with the doctors so that we can resolve the doctors incapacitation crisis and the prolonged impasse
“Summoning and intimidating the senior doctors will not resolve the current workforce crisis but it will instead exacerbate the situation. Zimbabwe was once renowned in the sub-Saharan region for providing high quality, accessible and affordable primary, secondary and sophisticated tertiary health services to its people,” said Mr Rusike.
Zimbabwe is currently facing severe challenges with the retention of its health workers owing to the the macro-economic deterioration, poor living wages and working conditions, the increased burden of disease and high demand for services, as well as low staff motivation, have worsened the situation.
“Yet, the workforce plays a strategic role in improving our people’s health and welfare. His Excellency the President Comrade Emerson Mnangagwa should declare a National Emergency in the health sector so that the international community can come in with the much needed resources and assist in rebuilding the broken public health delivery system.
“Zimbabwe needs to value and respect its own health workers if it is to strengthen the health systems and to move towards achieving universal health coverage.”