Harare-The Zimbabwe Government has flatly rejected striking junior doctors’ demands for US dollar wages with Health Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo describing the idea as “awkward”.
Zimbabwe’s junior doctors embarked on the industrial action at the beginning of the month demanding a review of their allowances as well as wages.
The industrial action has left major public hospitals in a crisis with ordinary citizens the worst affected.
Minister Moyo said the government does not have plans to pay wages in US dollars as the economic situation does not permit.
“There is the issue of payment of salaries in US dollars. Naturally, cabinet does not feel that that is the right way to go. Neither is it the right way to think especially in an environment where the United States dollar is scarce,” Moyo said.
“We all know that we need the US dollar and in the case of health, to replace all the medicines that we are short of and it would sound awkward for staff to then request payment in US dollars for their salaries.”
“What is more relevant is for the staff to be pushing for the payment of the drugs that require US dollars and that is exactly what government has done; prioritise the working products which are required as a paraphernalia for the basis of carrying out procurement and ensuring that patients are well looked after. Payment of salaries in US dollars is very difficult in this current environment.” he added
The strike has seen Radiographers joining leaving patients to seek services from private surgeries which is something beyond the reach of many.
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