Reports indicate that junior doctors at the country’s major public hospitals have gone on strike since Saturday. The doctors justified their decision by citing the many challenges they are forced to endure which include bad working conditions, low salaries and lack of basic medicines and equipment.
The strike is said to have affected Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Chitungwiza and Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo. However, Mpilo Central clinical director Solwayo Ngwenya yesterday denied that the doctors had gone on strike. He said
I have heard of the strike, but it was ineffective. Their colleagues in Harare were trying to woo them to join the strike, but I have checked with the hospital, it’s properly functioning. I gathered that they had a meeting last night at the hospital about some grievances, but I don’t know what they agreed on because I am on leave.
A Newsday source at Mpilo Hospital said that the doctors held a meeting and agreed to go on strike as well. The source said
We are disgruntled by the erosion of our salaries by the hyper-inflationary environment gripping the country, which has rendered our income worthless. Prices of basic commodities are increasing by each passing day and the prices of fuel have also gone up. The uncertainty in the economy has eroded our income, hence we are demanding that our employer pay us in the greenback.
We also want them to improve our working conditions by providing protective equipment at work and pay our locum allowances. The other issue is the introduction of non-medical chief executive officers at the health institutions, which we blame for the deteriorating working conditions because they are not conversant with health issues.
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