The government of Zimbabwe has reportedly deployed army medics to fill in the gap Zimbabwean doctors have left at hospitals, due to their ongoing strike.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Gerald Gwinji admitted that the strike was taking its toll on the services in the hospital, in addition to the scarcity of drugs already being endured in the hospitals.
“When some people are not coming to work there is bound to be an impact on service delivery and because these cadres (doctors) on strike are at the first level of care, the impact is even greater,” Gwinji said.
“In some instances, we have deployed cadres from the uniformed forces to help in reducing the pressure.”
Doctors are protesting because they want their on-call allowance to be increased from $1.20 per hour to $10 per hour. Zimbabwean doctors on strike are also protesting against being overworked by the government.
“So the doctors are insisting that the government has to offer something on the table on the issue of call allowances and the duty-free car facility as promised. Without that, they are not going back,” Edgar Munatsi, the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said.
In 2014, the doctors protested against their on-call wages, demanding higher pay. They returned to work when President Mugabe promised to increase their pay, as well as the provision of a facility which will permit the doctors to import their vehicles duty-free.
Due to the failure of the president to keep to these promises, the doctors took to the strike until the government responds.
“The association is puzzled by the lipstick approach from the Health Ministry to honor the agreed on-call allowances with our previous leadership,
Our doctors, including well-trained consultants, travel to work using public transport despite an earlier promise to unveil a motor vehicle duty-free facility to the sector,” Dr. Munatsi had argued.
Last year, a nationwide protest carried out by teachers, doctors, as well as companies and businesses occurred in Zimbabwe. This was the first peaceful protest carried out by the southern African nation in 10 years.
The stay away protest was one way Zimbabweans expressed their discontent with the sate of affairs of their country.