Govt in bid to recruit 200 new doctors as strike action persists

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s beleaguered administration has announced it was recruiting some 204 fresh medical doctors to fill up posts in some of the country’s public hospitals as a crippling strike action by local doctors on its payroll enters week six.

This was announced in a statement Thursday by the Health and Child Care Ministry.

Government is looking for both local and foreign doctors to fill up the posts.

Students who have completed their five year programmes from universities have been encouraged to apply while foreign medical doctors who also met local regulations and were ready for internship are also eligible for recruitment.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is inviting applications from all candidates who successfully completed their Part V Bachelor of Surgery degrees at local universities and are due to take up their first year internship,” said the statement Thursday.

“Foreign trained doctors who successfully sat for the Medical Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe board examinations are eligible to apply for placements to internship.

“Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals has 57 placements while Harare Central Hospital has (58), Chitungwiza Central Hospital (6), Mpilo Central Hospital (43) and United Bulawayo Hospitals has 40 placements.

“Applicants are directed to make their applications through the Director Human Resources at the Ministry Headquarters in Office Number 4-49; 4th floor Kaguvi Building, Harare indicating their choice of institution.”

The ministry said choice of institution will be on a first come, first served basis.

Government has moved to suspend over 500 defiant junior doctors who downed tools beginning of December last year to press for US dollar wages and the supply of drugs and relevant medical kit at their work stations.

The struggling Zanu PF led authority insists it has no plans to pay its workforce in forex which is in short supply in the country.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who has led government attempts persuade its critical health staff to return to work, accuses striking doctors of being manipulated by the enemy to demand their dues.

Doctors insist their Zimbabwean denominated RTGS wages have since been eroded by a recent wave of price increases which have seen goods and services now obtainable at triple the prices that prevailed September last year.

The move to start recruiting could be a government attempt to induce panic among doctors as did happen last year when public hospital nurses embarked on a prolonged strike citing almost similar reasons and were forced to call off the job action when government started recruiting to fill up their positions.

Service at government hospitals has virtually come to a halt as junior, senior registrars and radiographers working there have joined in.

The most affected hospitals are Parirenyatwa, Harare, United Bulawayo and Mpilo Hospitals.

Senior doctors Wednesday downed tools in support of their junior peers and to “protect patients and themselves” until an agreement is reached between the government and the suspended staff.