The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association has announced that doctors will be embarking on a nationwide strike, starting from the Wednesday the 15th of February 2017. ZHDA had previously threatened to sue the government unless the last year of internship was removed. The government has instituted the a freeze on the hiring of medical doctors in spite of the very low doctor to patient ratio.
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Here is their letter calling for industrial action:
TO: ZIMBABWE HOSPITAL DOCTORS ASSOCIATION MEMBERS
10 FEBRUARY 2017
The 21-IDA was today engaged in nationwide consultations with its members across the country. As you may be aware the health sector is pregnant with a multitude of problems emanating from gross negligence and lack of will to implement logical decisions. To buttress this argument where in the world can a country declare that it can no longer employ well trained post internship doctors despite the huge investment in educating these cadres for twenty years!
The association remains puzzled with the lipstick approach by the Ministry of health to honour the agreed on call allowances with our previous leadership. It is on record that the on call allowance must have progressively been raised to $720.
Our doctors including well trained consultants still travel to work on public transport despite the earlier promise to unveil a motor vehicle duty free facility to the sector.
Our doctors who are furthering their studies have been left to the gallows of the capital hungry University and are basically donating their tiny salaries to fees. These are only but a few of the frustrating examples of how health workers have been neglected whilst on the other hand the responsible authorities swim in bread and butter as their kids are flying to school.
The late President Mandela once highlighted that freedom can never be granted by the oppressor but have to be fought for by the oppressed. In light of the recommendations gathered from the nationwide consultations and guided by the notice and petition served to the Minister of health and the Health Services Board more than two weeks ago the association wishes to announce that with effect from Wednesday 15 February,there shall be a fully fletched, nationwide industrial action. All doctors from the consultant level to our new JRMOs are advised to take heed of this call.
The three specific demands are
1. All doctors who have completed internship must never have their contracts of employment terminated or else be given their open practicing certificates upon completion of internship.
2. The current on call allowance be revised upwards to a minimum of $720 for the lowest paid doctor.
3. The Health Services Board urgently implements the agreed Duty free framework for all government doctors.
The association will from time to time beginning this Monday will release daily updates of the operational strategies for this seemingly long battle and industrial action. All doctors are advised to cooperate as this historic action will prevent the ensuing cancerous destruction of our noble profession.
Yours in defence of the medical profession
ZHDA National Committee and Advisory Panel.