Parirenyatwa doctors strike: Health Minister on warpath

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE strike by senior doctors at Parirenyatwa Hospital has triggered a fall-out between Health Minister Obadiah Moyo and management at the country’s prime medical institution.

Moyo moved swiftly Wednesday morning to stop the doctors who had taken to picketing outside the hospital and went into a lengthy meeting with representatives of the workers as well as management led by chief executive Thomas Zigora.

In his address Moyo let rip at Zigora and his team for failing to lead the institution properly.

“If we feel like we have to change management, we will do it. We do not want to relax and sleep on the job. We have to perform.

“I was telling the Health Services Board that we need those performance appraisal, we need to be innovative and get around these challenges,” Moyo a former chief executive officer at Chitungwiza Hospital said.  

A senior doctor, Azza Mashumba said the theatre in the maternity unit she heads had not been working for some time, forcing doctors to delay ceasarean operations, sometimes with fatal results.

“I come to work to certify dead (baby) bodies, that’s not why I am here… We are not working, we are not helping patients,” she told the health minister.

Senior doctors downed tools late Monday according to sources arguing government had failed to provide them with an environment within which they can deliver services to patients.

The medical practitioners cited essential drugs shortages as well as dilapidated equipment.

In a statement to Moyo, the consultants indicated the situation at the hospital had deteriorated to below December 2018 standards that triggered a strike by junior doctors.

Moyo ranted adding he also had his own frustrations because of lack of capacity in some institutions.

“I am not supposed to be micro-managing these issues, we must have managers and administrators, who are capable.

“I also find myself being frustrated sometimes because I have to end up doing management work because of lack of support,” Moyo told the senior doctors at an impromptu meeting held at the hospital.

“Yes there maybe issues of sanctions and foreign currency, but they must be ways of managing these issues. I have said I want a healthcare team who are well supported and this is why I then decided we have a forum where we can meet.”

Zigora in response blamed suppliers who he said were rejecting orders from Zimbabwe.

“We have secured foreign currency but sending it outside the country is a very difficult. We secured foreign currency to send to a Germany company three months ago but this money has been returned to us,” Zigora said.   

“We have sent money to Phillips a few month ago for the supply of mobile X-Ray machines, we secured foreign currency and paid through our banks but that money has been returned.”

The Parirenyatwa Hospital chief executive said the institution has since secured a week’s supply of consumables.

“We have now secured a week’s supply of the required syringes and gloves and these will be made available to hospitals.

“There is a list of medicines which are required. I indicated to the consultants that we have already secured and paid for the supply of these,” said Zigora.

After the meeting the senior doctors agreed to report for work but will only start working once management has secured the supplies required to do their job.