The striking doctors who were scheduled to undergo hearings at their respective working places today have snubbed the process insisting they will only turn up once their grievances have been met.
The strike, which has crippled Zimbabwe’s public health system, entered day 35 today amid concerns that more patients remain stranded and dying in hospitals as they are failing to acquire medical help.
Zimbabwe Medical Doctors Association (ZMDA) spokesperson, Dr Mthabisi Bhebhe told 263Chat that despite numerous calls for them to attend the hearing, they are staying put because the government is failing to address the critical issues at hand.
“None of our members attended the hearings today, they were all in the comfort of their homes because they are on an industrial action. They cannot go to work when their issues are not met.
“The problem is that the government is failing to attend to our moist critical demands which range from improved working conditions where we need adequate supplies of medication, ” Bhebhe said.
“We need our salaries to be paid in US Dollars and until that has been addressed, you will not see us at work. We demand that the Ministry of Health and Childcare pay our salaries in full and in foreign currency,” Bhebhe noted.
He said contrary to state media reports that the doctors had met the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and resolved to go back to work, they were continuing with their industrial action.
“We have seen state media reports which are insinuating that the doctors will go back to work after meeting the First Lady that is all lies.
“Of course some of our members met the First Lady but there was no consensus the position remains the same, we are not going back to work.
“The First Lady promised to take our grievances to the relevant authorities because information was being distorted, so we will see how it goes,”he said.
Meanwhile, the Nelson Chamisa led MDC has called on the government and striking junior doctors to immediately find common ground and end the industrial action.
Addressing a media brief, the oppositions shadow Health Minister, Henry Madzorera said the strike and disagreement between the two parties is a selfish move which has been detrimental to the suffering patients.
Madzorera said the continued disagreement will lead to a mass exodus of qualified doctors which will the country in dire need of medical practitioners.
There is a real danger that right now if doctors are not treated with respect that is due to them we will likely see a devastating exodus, once again, of doctors and other healthcare workers, he said.
Madzorera said the neglect of doctors is a great betrayal to the ethos of the liberation struggle which advocated for health for all in a free Zimbabwe.