By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE strike by senior doctors has worsened the situation at one of the country’s biggest health institutions, Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Leonard Mabande said this week.
Senior doctors early this week announced they were not going to report for duty until their junior colleagues’ grievances were addressed by the Health Services Board and until the decision to fire nearly 500 medical practitioners who have been on strike for better working conditions for three months is reversed.
Mabande said the decision to expel the junior doctors will have devastating effects.
“Where people are fired, obviously there are a lot of problems. We are trying to cope with the workload but it is very difficult,” Mabande told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.
The Mpilo boss said the hospital is currently relying on doctors seconded to it by the uniformed forces.
“Doctors from the uniformed forces are assisting us very much. The situation is very bad. We hope this issue will be addressed as soon as possible so that we go back to normalcy,” said Mabande.
He said 51 junior doctors at the hospital had been fired so far.
When NewZimbabwe.com visited the hospital on Thursday, patients were being turned away because of the shortage of the doctors. One of the patients who had been turned away, Lameck Hakirosi (69) said he has a heart ailment.
“I travelled this morning from Filabusi with the intention of seeing a doctor. I have got an infection in my heart. I have been told to go back home until the situation improves but the question is when will the doctors come back to work. Meanwhile, my condition keeps on deteriorating,” said Hakirosi almost in tears.
A pregnant woman Shylet Ndlovu had also been turned away as the situation continues to worsen.
“I am having problems with my pregnancy .I wanted to see a doctor but I was turned away. Women are the most affected by this strike. The doctors and government should find each other as soon as possible so that lives are saved,” she said.
Ndlovu said she is now intending to consult a prophet over her problem.
Business mogul Strive Masiyiwa, through his Higher Life Foundation (HLF), has pledged to give monetary incentives to some 2000 doctors with recruitment expected to start soon.