Senior doctors down tools

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Harare, (New Ziana) – Senior doctors on Tuesday downed tools in solidarity with their junior counterparts who have been on strike for nearly three months.

Junior doctors, citing poor pay and working conditions in public hospitals, embarked on the strike which has been ruled illegal by by the courts.

Most have since been fired by the government over the strike, which saw
senior doctors bridging the gap until now.

But on Tuesday, the Senior Hospital Doctors’ Association (SHDA)said its members would down tools immediately as well in protest against government’s handling of their junior counterparts’ case, in particular
their dismissal.

“We regret to inform you that the SHDA has agreed with its members who
had remained behind offering emergency services to the hospitals that we
are no longer able to offer any emergency services as from the 26th of
November 2019, 14:00 hours, until all the fired doctors are reinstated
and there is adequate redress of their incapacitation,” the SHDA said in
a letter to government.

In going on strike, the junior doctors said their salaries were so low
they could no longer afford transport to work, among other things, and
hospitals were poorly equipped and had no medicines.

They demanded pay indexed to the US Dollar, a request the authorities shot
down citing incapacity to afford.

Instead, the government offered an array of new incentives such as increased allowances and non-monetary compensation such as housing, but this was snubbed by the junior doctors.

This prompted the government, armed with a court ruling in its favour, to
fire some of the doctors for striking illegally.

So far 435 have been fired, although the government has said it would keep
doors open to those willing to re-apply.

In the meantime, government is moving ahead to improve working conditions
in public hospitals, importing drugs and equipment.

Recently, for instance, President Emmerson Mnangagwa secured medical drugs
and equipment worth millions of dollars from the United Arab Emirates, which has already been dispensed to public hospitals.
New Ziana

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