By Leopold Munhende
THE only option for junior doctors seeking employment remains in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), a research conducted by a local labour think tank, the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) has noted.
Presenting a paper during Action Aid’s workshop on ‘Decent Work for Education and Health Sectors’, LEDRIZ researcher Nyasha Muchichwa told participants junior doctors were demoralised after realising that the only option for them to get employed was in the military.
“There are limited opportunities for employment in the health and education sector,” said Muchichwa.
“For junior doctors, these opportunities exist in the military and remember not everyone is willing or interested in working for the military.
“Due to the limitation of employment we see the overburdening of teachers, nurses and doctors where they are expected to do more than they are required to do.
“We see their demoralisation and this has an impact in terms of service delivery.”
A freeze on doctor employment resulted in the increase in the doctor to patient ratio that was last recorded at 1:250 000 against a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended 1:10 000.
The health sector has been seriously affected by a brain drain as doctors flock to better-paying and resourced institutions in the United Kingdom (UK) and other Western countries.
Poor financing by the government has worsened the situation.
With a salary of less than $30 000, doctors, much like their colleagues in the education sector, they are regarded as “the working poor” according to the LIDREZ research.