FREEZE ON DOCTORS RECRUITMENT LIFTED

Govt has agreed to lift the freeze on the recruitment of doctors and availed $10 million to buy vehicles after the medical practitioners petitioned it over a number of grievances.

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In a notice to go on strike dated February 5 addressed to the Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, the doctors gave the ministry 21 days to address their concerns. Dr Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment yesterday while permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Gerald Gwinji was said to be out of the country.

However, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president Dr Edgar Munatsi told The Chronicle yesterday that since they issued the ultimatum, Government had addressed three of their concerns.

“We have had discussions with them and they addressed some of our concerns. They have availed $10 million towards procurement of vehicles and have agreed to ensure that there is proper grading of salaries for our doctors effective month end which will be back dated to January,” said Dr Munatsi.
“They have also agreed to lift the ban on the recruitment of doctors and promised that the system will absorb all doctors once they complete their studies.”

In their letter, doctors said they would be incapacitated at various institutions nationwide to discharge their normal duties if working conditions are not addressed to their satisfaction.

“We call for urgent procurement of standard hospital equipment and essential medicines to allow us to provide quality service to our patients. We also need clearly defined working hours as per regional and international standards to be set and observed. This means that doctors should work for eight hours of day duty and a maximum of eight hours on call, with a total maximum of six calls per month for interns under supervision,” reads the notice.

“We also look forward to an upward review of our on-call allowance to a minimum of $1 500 with immediate effect. We also call for an upward review of medical allowance to $110 and rural allowance to $500.”

ZHDA also demanded that payment of all locum hours owed to doctors to be made.
According to the notice, doctors want the suspension of contract employment of interns.
Dr Munatsi said resolving their concerns will go a long way in rebuilding the health sector and will ensure quality service delivery at public institutions.

Zimbabwe Medical Association secretary general Dr Shingi Bopoto said the organisation does not condone strikes though it was important that doctors’ concerns are attended to.

“We are aware of that, we have seen the letter and we know that they are threatening to go on strike though we do not condone strikes. We are doing everything behind the scenes to avert this strike,” said Dr Bopoto.

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