Doctors’ strike: First Lady forced to cancel hospital visit

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FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa was Thursday forced to cancel a scheduled visit to Chitungwiza hospital due to the on-going strike by junior government medical doctors.

Cancellation of the visit left scores of women who had come for free cervical cancer screening at the hospital, stranded.

Mnangagwa was due to visit the hospital on Friday as part of her nation-wide tour of State-run hospitals. During the visits women of various age groups undergo free cervical cancer screening and breast cancer tests.

She was however, forced to cancel her Chitungwiza visit as junior doctors who were supposed to part of the team examining the women joined the nation-wide demanding better working conditions.

In a message to local organisers of the First Lady’s visit, Chitungwiza hospital authorities confirmed that the ongoing job action by junior doctors had affected the visit and forced Mnangagwa to abandon the tour.

“Very sorry, due to the ongoing doctors’ strike, the event for tomorrow has been postponed to a later date on the advice of authorities.

“Apologies to the mobilised people. Let’s demobilise and apologise,” read a notice issued by the Chitungwiza hospital to the organisers.

A number of women had already travelled Thursday from as far as Wedza, Rusape and Chivhu and slept at the hospital, expecting to undergo medical tests the next day during Mnangagwa’s visit.

Organisers said they had to be turned away after the event was cancelled.

Doctors at public hospitals have been on strike since the beginning of the month and have vowed not return to work until the government meets their demands for better pay and improved working conditions.

Last week, the government offered to increase their on-call allowances by 67%, from $1.50 to $2. 50, an amount the doctors rejected.