Zimbabwean doctors who work in the state hospitals have gone on strike in protest against the low pay and harsh working conditions.
Zimbabwean doctors are seeking increased pay from the government as well as improved working conditions in their facilities.
The Zimbabwean doctors had requested an increase in the minimum on-call allowance from $288 a month to $720.
The President of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, Edgar Munatsi said that despite the low pay, and the government’s halt on the recruitment of new health workers, the medical practitioners were still overworked.
Dr. Muntasi further called on the cooperation of other health workers and medics under the government’s payroll to support the strike.
“All doctors from the consultant level upwards are expected to cooperate as this historic action will prevent the ensuing cancerous destruction of our profession,” Dr. Munatsi said.
He chastised the government’s failure to keep past promises made to the health workers on improving their conditions.
“The association is puzzled by the lipstick approach from the Health Ministry to honour 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 said.
Zimbabwe’s minister of health, David Parirenyatwa called on the striking doctors to return to work, citing that their demands have already been met.
Regarding the situation of being overworked, he said that 250 posts for ruling and 2,000 jobs for nurses have been created by the government already.
“We have been negotiating with the Ministry of Finance for posts since November and we have been offered 250 posts for doctors and 2,000 for nurses,” Dr Parirenyatwa told NewsDay.
“I am urging them (doctors) not to go ahead with the industrial action,” adding that “We need to look after our patients.”
The Zimbabwean economy is struggling as the government is yet to pay workers on its payroll. Last year, a series of protests, as never before seen in Zimbabwe erupted as a complaint against the government’s failure to pay public workers, the crumbling economy and the general state of affairs in the country.
Despite the acute cash shortages and dwindling economy, President Mugabe who turns 93 on February 21 will celebrate his birthday with a lavish party as usual. The perceived insensitivity of the Zimbabwean government has caused the Zimbabwean people to lose hope in their government, and demand that the ruling government gives way to a new administration.
Unperturbed, long-time leader of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe still insists he will contest the upcoming Presidential polls set to hold in 2018.