Reports indicate that the Health Services Board (HSB) and a task force set up by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima) to mediate between the State and medical personnel held a crisis meeting on Sunday. The crisis meeting was meant to break the impasse between the government and striking junior doctors.
A press statement was issued after the crunch indaba by HSB vice-chairperson Auxillia Chideme-Munodawafa and Zima president Francis Chawora as well as taskforce chairperson Christopher Samkange and other officials.
A Newsday source said that the government is in the process of recruiting final year medical students to replace those who are on suspension. Said the source
It smacks of insincerity because on one hand, government has indicated it wants to talk, but on the other, it has gone ahead and recruited hordes of final year students, some of whom have actually failed. The results are yet to be known, but the government already has a deployment list of the interns, who are supposed to replace the junior doctors whom the State reportedly fired last week.
Another Newsday source had this to say
There have been meetings the whole of today (yesterday) and the Zimbabwe Medical Association leadership has been locked up with senior government officials in a bid to thrash
out a compromise.
The 48-hour ultimatum expires today (yesterday) and it would be difficult for hospitals because, for example, nurses cannot certify deaths. We are reaching a crisis point.
A letter purportedly written by students who wrote examinations in December 2016 and were awaiting their results to a Professor Masanganise of the Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences at UZ read as follows
We, the MDCHB V (2013 intake) students, recently wrote our exams in December 2016. We have been awaiting our results, as is the norm with the College of Health Sciences. Today, the 29th of December, a number of us received phone calls from human resources departments of various hospitals, mostly Parirenyatwa, indicating we had gotten internship placements and were asked to present ourselves immediately to sign preliminary contracts and assume internship duties.
This goes against the contract we have with the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, which says that we receive results via the academics office of the university after a formal communication by the registrar of the university.
We are concerned about the criteria used to place students into internship stations without formal disclosure of results. We are also concerned with the sudden change framework of our degree programme and internship programme that has been reported in the media and somehow highlighted in the contract that has been shown to some of our colleagues by the human resources departments.