Growing dissent among Zimbabwe medical doctors

Harare- The Zimbabwe Health Doctors Association has written to the Health Services Board (HSB) over growing dissent and discontent among Doctors with public hospitals.

In a letter addressed to the HSB chairperson, the doctors said they were informing the board on what has exacerbated the dissent and discontent.

“We write on behalf of doctors who are currently serving in government hospitals in Zimbabwe. The letter serves to alert you of the growing dissent and discontent from doctors regarding conditions of service in the hospitals. We hereby inform the Health Service Board (HSB) the major concerns that have generated this discontent” read the letter

The doctors cited salaries and allowances, lack of protective clothing among other issues as the source of the problems.

“The economic climate in the country continues to deteriorate with no indications of improvement in the near future. The latest developments have seen the inflation rate rise to record levels and salaries being devalued.

“In the core of this economic decline, it is now impossible for government doctors to address their day to day basic financial obligations. Imperatively, since the last meaningful salary review in March 2018, transport costs, rentals, medical aid subscriptions and prices of basic household commodities have sharply increased” said ZHDA

ZHDA said prices of basic commodities have been pegged with US dollar rate on the parallel market hence should be in tandem with their contracts.

“The parallel market rate of the USD remains a single determent of pricing of basic commodities. The HSB must also recall that in the work contracts that doctors signed, salaries and allowances were clearly pegged in USD. We request the HSB to abide by labor laws and honor legally binding agreements.

“Accordingly, the Ministry of Health is called to adjust the salaries and remunerate its workers in USD as detailed in the contracts. This will address the main cause of growing frustration and low motivation among doctors as a result of poor salaries”

The doctors said they are exposed to a hazardous working environment which is a threat to life thereby contravening their human rights as contained in the Constitution.

“Doctors are currently exposed and working in a health hazardous environment. Infection control systems are in most instances absent. Consequently, doctors have been forced to work in TB wards with no face masks and operate on patients without adequate protective surgical sundries. HIV, Hepatitis B and Tb remain a daily immediate threat to life of workers due to lack of protective medical sundries. We are concerned that this presents a direct threat to life and a complete disregard of human rights enshrined in the Constitution” noted ZHDA

The Doctors are calling for bipartite meetings as the only legal way to register their displeasure, they are also calling for supernumerary post for registrars who they say have offered valuable support in state hospitals without receiving salaries.

The doctors are also calling for duty free on importation of vehicles and vehicle loan schemes as doctors face transport challenges when they report for duty.Best Regards

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