Thursday, 10 January 2019

WE HAVE ENDED OUR STRIKE : DOCS

Junior doctors who had embarked on a 40-day strike since December have officially called it off.
They started returning to work on Monday following an agreement they reached with the Government on Saturday.

In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) announced that all doctors were back at their work stations.

“ZHDA is delighted to inform the membership, members of the press and public that the industrial action by doctors in Government hospitals has come to an end.


It has been 40 straight days since doctors embarked on an industrial action citing various grievances that were and are crippling health service delivery in public institutions,” said the association.
It said the industrial action was meant to remind and send a clear message to relevant authorities that the health sector in the country needs urgent interventions.

“It is therefore important to appreciate that, the MOHCC (Ministry of Health and Child Care) has made commitments with its employees to address these crippling factors and we can only hope that these commitments would be implemented in all honesty at the correct time frame and as agreed, for the benefit of our patients and the country as a whole,” said the ZHDA.

The doctors said there is a need for consistent and continuous engagement between doctors and the Health Ministry to avoid unnecessary interruption of services.

“The MOHCC has committed in writing that it will consistently improve supply of medicines, medical and surgical sundries in public health facilities. It was further agreed that there is going to be unfreezing of critical posts for doctors across Central, Provincial and District Hospitals. We hope these promises will be fulfilled with urgency, as it has been the culture of the Health Service Board to go back on agreements before,” the doctors association said.

“We also continue to negotiate on outstanding issues like remuneration and working hours and we hope we find common ground soon. We believe that, if these crucial commitments are implemented, it will go a long way in alleviating the challenges our members encounter when discharging life saving services in government hospitals. Industrial action by doctors should not be the only language that brings about improvement in drug supply and conditions of service.”

The doctors said it is important to have dialogue, transparency, honesty and accountability to improve the health sector.

“Sadly, with no salary review and frozen December salaries in this rough and ravaging economic environment, it remains a dilemma how our members will report to work daily.
‘Indeed, poor remuneration and the current fuel shortage remain a threat that may spontaneously hinder our members from reporting to work daily and discharging quality health services to patients.

That being said, our members have begrudgingly resumed work with effect from today, as dialogue continues,” said the ZHDA.

The doctors reaffirmed their determination and commitment to unite and work towards a healthy and prosperous Zimbabwe.

“We wish to do so, through advocating for efficient and effective health delivery system and improvement in conditions of service for doctors,” reads the doctors statement.

The Ministry of Health has said disciplinary hearings for junior doctors who participated in the industrial action will proceed as scheduled and will be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
Health and Child Care Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji urged the doctors who were returning to work to subject themselves to due process.

He said information being peddled that all who presented themselves for the hearings faced summary dismissal was “inaccurate and misleading” Herald

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