Tuesday, 26 November 2019

STRIKING DOCS DIG IN


Fired government doctors have said they will not reapply for their jobs and have instead asked Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to first address their concerns as well as the chaos that is prevailing in public health institutions. 

The Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) urged Chiwenga to bring normalcy to the healthcare system which has seen most hospitals shutting down their major service departments.

Chiwenga, who quietly jetted into the country on Saturday after spending almost four months in China where he was being treated for an unknown illness, is now faced with a massive mission of reassembling the collapsing health sector.

He, however, upon his arrival, did not have any kind words for striking civil servants, including the doctors.

Chiwenga also became infamous early this year when he fired more than 16 000 nurses.

“It is our sincere hope that the Vice-President will now take the opportunity to look into the Zimbabwean healthcare system and get things back to normal beginning with ensuring decent salaries for health staff working towards uplifting our system to first class standards,” the doctors’ grouping posted on its official Twitter account.

The doctors have also said they will not reapply for their jobs and will instead wait for the government to reinstate them.

Acting secretary-general Tawanda Zvakada told NewsDay that the decision was made unanimously by the members.

“The message from the constituency is that no one will reapply and government should instead reinstate us as per our signed contracts,” he said. 

Self-exiled doctor Peter Magombeyi, who was abducted and tortured a few months ago by suspected State security agents and later ferried to South Africa for treatment also tweeted that none of the doctors will re-apply for their jobs.

Magombeyi whose location remains unknown and shrouded in speculation has not returned since he went for medical treatment in South Africa.

“As doctors, we are cocksure that our future is bright; no one will reapply for the job. These are bread and butter issues. To our patients, we love you all,” he said.

This follows sentiments by the Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Mangaliso Ndlovu during a Cabinet briefing last week that the government would not budge on its decision of relieving 400 doctors of their duties.

He instead said if the doctors so wished they should reapply.

The doctors have cited incapacitation and following a protracted battle with their employer, they were dragged to the Labour Court where they lost their case.

They were later served with letters to appear for disciplinary hearings which they snubbed, resulting in the government firing 435 doctors. 

Senior government officials, however, have been berated for becoming medical tourists while the rest of the country has had to contend with the local facilities which are ill-equipped and have no drugs, inadequate personnel as well as equipment for various medical procedures.

The facilities do not even have basic medication like pain killers. Hardest hit are pregnant women who have now resorted to giving birth outside hospitals. Newsday

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