By Rutendo Bamu:
Doctors at government medical institutions have turned down their employer’s 60% allowance increment and vowed to continue with their industrial action that has now passed the 35-day mark, with many patients in critical condition remaining unattended.
The doctors’ position draws the battle lines between the medical practitioners and government after Health and Child Care minister, Obadiah Moyo, yesterday threatened to punish doctors who failed to report following the employer’s new offer.
However, in a letter addressed to the Health and Child Care ministry and copied to the Health Services Board, the senior doctors association the government’s new offer falls far below their expectations and did not address any of their concerns, giving the impression that the employer had no interest to address them.
“Negotiations between the government of Zimbabwe and our association (ZHDA) have not been fruitful. Innocent lives continue to be lost, avoidable morbidity continues to ransack our patients and vulnerable groups such as neonates, geriatrics, pregnant women and the disabled continue to bear the brunt of this deadlock.
“The government has not been forthcoming to address the legitimate concerns raised by ZHDA. Instead they have responded with salary cuts, intimidation and threats of disciplinary action or dismissals,” they wrote.
Doctors met this morning at Parirenyatwa and demonstrated rejecting the government’s offer of a 60% increase which they say is derisory and refusing to bow to an ultimatum issued to them by the Health ministry.
They marched around Parirenyatwa grounds defying government’s orders as they say they are incapacitated and are unable to work until salaries adjusted to interbank rate.
Acting Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president, Masimba Ndoro told ZimSentinel that the “doctors did not report for work on Monday as per the government order because their demands are not yet met. The doctors argue they are still incapacitated”.
ZHDA said they are incapacitated with their salaries due to “declining purchasing parity power and erosion of the meager salaries by hyper inflation, the least paid junior doctor by September was earning an average of US$80”.