By Anna Chibamu
THE government is now seeking further talks with striking junior doctors after initially acting tough and suspending the defiant clinicians.
Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo confirmed at the weekend that more talks were lined-up for Monday with representatives of the striking junior doctors.
The strike which started at the beginning of December, has paralysed the country’s public health sector with senior doctors warning that they might be forced to join he job action.
Government responded by suspending more than 500 of the doctors after the strike was declared illegal by the courts.
However, minister Moyo told state media at the weekend that talks would resume on Monday.
“We are concerned about the people. The doctors should return to work immediately to save lives,” he said.
“On Monday, we are resuming talks to find ways to resolve the issue but, we encourage them to go back to work whilst talks are ongoing.”
This is contrast to the tough stance taken by the minister and his deputy at a press conference addressed by acting president Constantino Chiwenga last week.
Chiwenga condemned the junior doctors, claiming they were still students and not yet fully qualified – an allegation dismissed by the clinicians.
Deputy health minister John Mangwiro also told journalists that the striking doctors would have to submit to disciplinary processes first if they wanted to return to work.