Doctors defy government’s orders to return to work

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By Anna Chibamu

DOCTORS have defied government’s call to return to work by Monday at 0800hrs arguing their employer has shown “continued ignorance” regarding the issues at stake.

Government medical practitioners have been on strike for the whole of last month especially junior doctors but have since been joined by their senior counterparts.

The Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA) in a statement on Sunday stated that Health Minister Obadiah Moyo’s comments were regrettable as he was aware that they (doctors) were equally not happy with the situation at the country’s health centres.

“We note with sadness and deep concern the comments made by the Minister of Health and Child Care Obadiah Moyo on Saturday.

“Doctors country-wide are not enjoying this on-going silent genocide and infringement on citizens’ constitutional rights to health brought about by the negligence on the part of the employer to address employees’ grievances within a reasonable time frame,” the statement read in part.

“It is regrettable and so unfortunate that (the) Hon. Minister’s remarks do not capacitate even a single doctor, moreover all doctors nationwide to report for duty on proposed date and time in his communiqué.”

The doctors, who indicated in their statement that they would be having a solidarity meeting this Monday at Parirenyatwa Hospital, said they remained hopeful that “a lasting solution to this impasse will be found through serious and meaningful negotiations not through press releases and media reports.”

ZHDA members on Friday walked out on Health Apex Council after a still-borne meeting with the Health Services Board in which they rejected a 60% pay increase.

They accuse the Health Apex Council of “selling out” and failing to represent them well.

Health Apex Council brings together 20 associations in the sector. On Saturday, Moyo issued an ultimatum to all doctors to return to their posts by Monday morning or face disciplinary action.