ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) doctors reported for duty at Mpilo Central Hospital yesterday to alleviate the plight of patients following the strike by doctors at public health institutions that spills into day 28 today.
Doctors downed tools on March 1 after petitioning the Government to improve their conditions of service and ensure availability of medication and equipment in public health institutions.
Mpilo clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya yesterday said army doctors will help in the casualty and hospital wards where the few doctors are having challenges attending to patients.
“We requested the ZNA to help us with an extra pair of hands as the ongoing strike has affected our service delivery. We have since received two doctors today who will be at the casualty ward where there is a lot of pressure,” said Dr Solwayo Ngwenya
He said the hospital which normally has a total of 182 doctors including junior doctors was working hard to save lives with only 73 doctors who did not join the strike.
“The strike had affected our operations and the most affected patients are those with chronic conditions since we have been forced to close the outpatient department. However, our contingency measures have been useful in saving lives and I am glad to say we have been managing well just like in previous months before the strike started,” he said.
Dr Ngwenya said the hospital was now concentrating on critical patients though they were still attending to other illnesses.
“We continue to attend pregnant women and our births for March as of today are at 668 while we recorded 685 in February. We also successfully conducted 176 C-section births this month compared to 230 and we are glad we are helping members of the public despite our challenges,” Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said.
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association recently applauded President Mnangagwa for agreeing to intervene to find a solution. The doctors have said they are ready to return to work as soon as promises made to them by the Ministry of Health and Child Care are put in writing.
In a statement ZHDA spokesperson, Dr Mxolisi Ngwenya, said they were hopeful that President Mnangagwa’s intervention would yield positive results soon.
“Members would like to thank His Excellency, the President for his intervention. He is a man of his word and we believe that he will act with the urgency he has always shown,” Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said.
“The reason why we have reached this critical point is that we accepted promises before from the same minister and Ministry, since 2014, and these continue to be broken.”
He said despite calls by Government for doctors to return to work, there were some outstanding issues that had to be addressed before the strike is called off.