New Zimbabwe.com

Doctors, nurses cry ‘criminal’ as government slashes allowances once more

GOVERNMENT has reneged on the agreement it entered with the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) which saw their on call allowances being increased to $1 200 in March.

The increase followed a protracted job action by junior doctors, later joined by their seniors and nurses as the situation got dire while government was unyielding to the demands for better pay.

Nurses have also been affected, according a statement from the doctors.

The ZHDA information desk described the “unilateral” move by the employer, through the Health Services Board (HSB), to cut the allowances as “criminal”.

“However to our dismay, the Health Services Board has unilaterally imposed a slash on these, thereby violating that agreement. This is a direct effort meant to sabotage the health care and criminally award themselves a new allowance known as special medical allowance,” said the organisation in a statement on Friday.

“This allowance has been put at par with our on call allowance and is being awarded to non-clinical staff in the HSB secretariat who have office day jobs and work 8 hours a day.

“The funds to pay for this have been deducted from doctors, nurses and other clinical staff nationwide.”

This comes less than a month after vice president Chiwenga sacked all nurses in government hospitals only to rehire them as he sought to end a crippling strike over conditions of service.

The ZHDA claims the HSB secretariat is not supposed to get such allowances when they are not dealing with patients directly.

“Moreover this special medical allowance is being deemed medical yet there are no medical qualifications required for one to be in the HSB secretariat,” read the statement.

The organisation appealed to the Health and Finance ministries as well as other relevant authorities to investigate the “rot”.

“HSB has oppressed our members for too long and this time we say no, we have had enough,” the organisation said.

Health unions and interest groups have been calling for the dissolution of the board.

Teachers have also been threatened against participating in their job action which was scheduled to begin early this week as schools opened.

Since taking office, Mnangagwa has been battling labour unrest, a legacy of his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

Many rights remain elusive for Zimbabweans owing to under-funding of critical social sector.