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Strike By Resident Doctors Stretches Out In Zimbabwe State Hospitals


The operation of Zimbabwe's main government-run hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo continued Monday to be disrupted by a strike by junior and senior residents.

Sources said top-ranking senior consultant physicians who have been picking up the slack during the strike are complaining about the work load and threatening to strike themselves if the government does not quickly resolve the labor dispute.

Since the strike began three weeks ago, around 350 junior and senior residents have walked out, citing low salaries and poor working conditions. Junior residents are paid Z$56,000 a month - US$224 at the official exchange rate but less than US$18 monthly at the parallel market rate. Senior resident doctors earn Z76,000 a month..

Casualty departments - emergency rooms - have either been closed, or are operating with minimal staff at the four main referral hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo.

Dr Tapiwa Bwakura, a senior consultant in the Harare hospital system, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he and his colleagues are not yet seriously considering work action - but added that things could get much worse in the hospitals if there is no agreement between striking doctors and authorities.

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

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