National Council of Chiefs (NCC) president Fortune Charumbira has urged government to engage the traditional leaders to solve the crippling doctors’ strike, which has now clocked a month.
The public hospitals health professionals are at loggerheads with government, demanding better remuneration and working conditions, among other demands.
The job action is the third in three years over the same concerns.
Charumbira told Senators last week: “This is a human resources (issue), not simply Treasury.
“We are saying if you have problems in talking to the workers that are on industrial action, please you may also invite us as traditional leaders.
“We can talk to them and they will understand.
“When we have intervened and made resolutions, please follow up on those resolutions because at the moment, people are in problems.”
“We need to convince these doctors and when we have made resolutions; we tell them and implement that. What we need is someone to go between. We are going to do something about these things.
“You only need people who are very strong, medical aid societies are supporting them but other clinics and hospitals like the West End and the Avenues; people have problems in accessing them,” he said.
Charumbira urged government to intervene as “many people are dying in hospitals”.
“Whatever the doctors are saying generally is for the progress and development of the country.
“However, we are facing a problem in that many people are dying because of illnesses. The doctors would want to enjoy their privileges,” he said.
He said “when we talk of a resident doctor”, (he or she must) “provided with accommodation”.
“You find that these doctors compare themselves with other people in the civil service.
“I will give an example, we were at school with the magistrates, the training that they had, to compare with the doctor…there are many differences.
“When you look at the benefits of the magistrates, they are given very beautiful cars, the Ford Rangers, the four wheel drives and other benefits.
“The doctor, despite his training, does not have such benefits.”
He added: “I was a student leader at the university…and I compare myself with what is happening in the country.
“This is the reason why we have these strikes and industrial actions because people are comparing.
“The problem we are facing at the moment is doctors are earning far less than what is expected of them.”
This comes as the striking doctors have refused to report for duty despite interventions by authorities — Health minister David Parirenyatwa, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga — insisting government must first put its promises in writing.