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Patients Stranded in Zimbabwe As Hospital Doctors Continue Strike

Resident physicians in Zimbabwe state hospitals continued a strike Wednesday obliging the Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals in the capital to close wards as remaining doctors and nurses were overburdened.

One Harare doctor said many patients unable to obtain treatment were turning to pharmacies seeking over-the-counter remedies or relief.

Doctors in Harare and Bulawayo said hospital conditions were deteriorating with authorities halting new admissions and continuing to turn away those seeking medical care.

Junior doctors want an increase in salaries from US$390 a month to US$3,000 to be in equal shares by the government, hospitals and international donor organizations.

VOA was unable to obtain comment on the crisis from Health Minister Henry Madzorera, who was said to be in meetings throughout the day.

Hospital Doctors Association President Brighton Chizhanje said his group is waiting for the government to respond to its demands. He said negotiations have not yet commenced.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo of the Association of Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights said that while the grievances of the hospital residents or junior doctors were legitimate, their demands are unreasonable as the government is strapped and the country is still recovering from a decade of economic decline.

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