November 16, 2019

Doctors’ strike: Could $6,5 billion be the right answer?

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ZTN Correspondent

Zimbabwe’s Health Ministry is consulting Treasury on the possibility of fulfilling demands by striking hospital doctors.

This comes as Government allocated ZWL$6,5 billion to the health sector under the 2020 National Budget.

Feedback from the consultation is expected soon and could end a strike that has run for nearly three months.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo and the doctors met for a discussion in the capital, Harare, on Friday.

The ministry’s Secretary, Dr Agnes Mahomva, National Pharmaceutical Company representatives and chief executives of public hospitals also attended the meeting.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting secretary-general Dr Tawanda Zvakada told ZTN on Saturday: “This was the third time meeting the minister. In that meeting, we expressed our willingness to go back to work. Once monetary means are availed, we will be able to resume duties.

“We presented our request and it was agreed that it would be taken to (Treasury, the Attorney-General and Parliament). I’m not at liberty, however, to disclose details of the request as doing so might jeopardise talks.”

The doctors are demanding improved salaries and working conditions.

However, authorities have previously cited incapacity to fulfil their demands.

The strike has left patients stranded, with the terminally-ill and those with other major ailments worse off.

Many have turned to council clinics while others are leaving their circumstances to fate.

Presenting the National Budget on Thursday, Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said, “To consolidate our achievements in healthcare, I am allocating ZWL$6.5 billion to the sector. This will cater for health infrastructure, personnel welfare, medicines, drugs and sundries, among other essential hospital equipment and necessities.”

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