Health sector strike, army doctors step in
Harare, (New Ziana) – The government said on Tuesday it had asked army doctors to step in and cover a gap created by striking health workers in public hospitals.
Public health workers have downed tools in protest against the disappearance of their leader whom they accuse the state of abducting.
Dr Peter Magombeyi, the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, a labour union representing medical doctors, was allegedly abducted by unknown assailants last weekend.
To try and put pressure on government to do its best to ensure his safe return, medical doctors, who have since been joined by other health workers, downed tools.
Government on Tuesday dissociated itself from the abductions, and instead said investigations were underway, with evidence at hand pointing to a disappearance.
While the melee ensures, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo said government had since asked the military for help until the situation returns to normal.
“In the meantime we are more concerned about service provision and we have made arrangements with the army so that they can move in during this time,” he told reporters after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
“The army are going to give us assistance and there are also some other doctors who have decided that they will continue providing service. There is quite a sizeable number in each and every institution but not as much as we would have wanted it to be.”
Dr Moyo encouraged the protesting health workers to return to work while investigations take place.
“We are all looking forward to the support we are getting from the security agencies. It is very clear they want to give us as much assistance as possible, we want our doctor back as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, acting chairperson of the post cabinet media conference, Information Communications Technology Minister, Kazembe Kazembe said government was in the meantime treating the case as a disappearance and not abduction.
“I prefer to call them disappearances, because unless if we have evidence, clear evidence that somebody was indeed abducted, it would be very unfair to conclude that there was abduction,” he said.
Government was equally concerned about the disappearances, he said, adding some of the alleged abductions, coincidentally happened “every time there is a very important international conference is about to take place.”
“Whether it’s mere coincidence or something else, government is going to leave no stone unturned to ensure that all these incidents are investigated,” he said.
Earlier, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Sibusiso Moyo said government was totally against any practice that endangered the lives of any citizen.
“As the government continues to spruce up the country’s image, it is unthinkable that any of its security agencies would be involved in such blatant criminal acts,” he said.