Frustrated junior doctors blast Health Service Board

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

FRUSTRATED junior doctors Wednesday slammed the Health Service Board (HSB) for failing to create a separate engagement forum for them even after submitting the relevant requirements.

Amid a crippling strike, Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA) in October last year announced its exit from the Health Apex Council, blaming it for failing to effectively address their concerns with government.

The council led by Panganai Chivese represents several health workers’ associations in negotiations with government over their welfare and working conditions.

In a letter addressed to the HSB chairperson, Paulinus Sikosana, the doctors’ association said they hoped a new forum would be created for medical professionals so the health sector’s deadlock with government could be resolved.

“The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) has noted the reluctance by the responsible authorities, in particular the Health Services Board (HSB) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care, in forming a separate negotiating forum for doctors.

“This comes after letters of notification and a draft of proposed regulations were submitted 2 months ago. The ZHDA and its entire membership urges the board to seriously look into this matter,” reads the letter.

According to the ZHDA, a new doctors splinter group which does not represent public hospital doctors’ interests is planning to replace them in the Health Apex Council and sabotage the progress they have made.

This follows the launch of a new union, Progressive Doctors Association of Zimbabwe (PDAZ) three weeks back by a group of doctors who split from the ZHDA.

Existing doctors’ groups have described PDAZ as a ‘plot to silence’ them from voicing their concerns.

“It is with great concern that we note the intention of another interested party, whose mandate is not clear and whose membership does not reflect the needs or the will of the doctors at large, to substitute the ZHDA in the Health Apex Council. Such a move, that undermines the spirit of the democracy and fails to recognise due procedure professionalism cannot be tolerated.

“We wish to advise the MOHCC, HSB and the Health Apex Council that the ZHDA remains the legally and unanimously recognised voice of government doctors nationwide and the sole negotiator for said group in the interim and following the creation of a new negotiating platform. We remain committed to see our doctors respected and provided with the best possible working conditions.”