By Idah Mhetu
HARARE: Parirenyatwa Hospital is now turning away patients with officials saying the country’s top referral facility is overwhelmed and nurses cannot cope in the absence of striking doctors.
NewZimbabwe.com established during a visit to the hospital last week that only emergency cases are being attended to with other patients being directed to private doctors and clinics.
Cholera related patients being directed to Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital.
“We are sorry, but if you are not seriously ill, may you please go to private clinics,” said a male nurse who did not want to be identified.
“Doctors are on strike; as for cholera cases may you please go to Nazareth clinic. For now, the hospital is only attending to emergency cases.”
Junior doctors have been on strike since the beginning of the month, demanding
That their salaries be paid in US dollars as the bond note and RTGS currencies have collapsed in value.
The clinicians are also protesting against poor working conditions and shortages of basic medicines and equipment.
Government has responded by suspended more than 500 of the striking doctors after the labour court declared the strike illegal.
The defiant medics have said they are prepared to return to work, but only after their grievances have been addressed.
“We hope the Presidium will find a lasting solution to the current impasse for the benefit of our nation,” the doctors’ representative association said in a statement last week.
“We are ready to offer our services once our grievances have been addressed. We urge the public to steer clear of propaganda and to pray for us as we try to restore sanity to our health sector.”
The government has since ruled out payment of salaries in US dollars, with finance minister Mthuli Ncube telling the striking doctors that the administration does not earn tax income in foreign currency.