The government has been advised to reach out to striking doctors to avert a potential crisis in the country’s public health institutions.
The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director, Itai Rusike, argued that doctors’ grievances are genuine and they have been articulating the same issues again and again without redress. He said:
The doctors want their salaries to be adjusted to an interbank rate that is based on the market forces of the day to insulate them from the current hyperinflationary environment.
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They argue that their salaries have been eroded by inflation rendering them unable to feed their families and even commuting to work.
CWGH sympathizes with the doctors because we truly believe that their grievances are genuine, have been raised before and need urgent attention.
We, however, do not condone a job action as it will result in unnecessary suffering and deaths of ordinary people, who rely on the already crumbling public health delivery system.
The doctors’ presentation of facts surely validates their claim for an upward salary review. This is not the first time doctors have raised the same issue of low salaries to which the government has always promised to address. But once they return to work, their problems are forgotten and never looked into.
CWGH would like to take this opportunity to plead with the government to address health workers’ grievances promptly.
Rusike condemned reports of intimidation of doctors by suspected State agents. Reports suggest that some doctors have been threatened with physical harm for going on strike.
Rusike also chided the government for lying to doctors about non-cash incentives such as duty-free vehicles, housing stands which have not been fulfilled over 5 years.