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Strike By Doctors In Zimbabwe Government Hospitals Expands

Senior residents in Zimbabwe's main government hospitals in Harare, the capital, and Bulawayo, the country's second largest city, have joined a strike by junior residents who are demanding significant pay increases in response to roaring inflation.

About 350 doctors in the two cities were on strike as of late Thursday.

Representatives of the striking doctors met Thursday with Davies Dhlakama, a Health Ministry acting secretary, and the chief executives of the Harare and Parirenyatwa Hospitals today, but failed to reach agreement on the salary issue.

The junior doctors, who went on strike last week, are now paid Z$56,000 a month - beneath the official poverty line - while the senior residents make Z$76,000. The doctors are demanding Z$5 million dollars a month and improved facilities.

Hospital Doctors Association President Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that beyond the issue of pay, doctors want Harare to improve work conditions to keep health workers from emigrating.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...