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Zimbabwe Seeking Army Doctors' Help as Health Workers Down Tools

  • Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
  • Gibbs Dube

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health says indications are that most workers would heed a mass protest called by civic society leaders on Wednesday.

In a letter to the Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga dated July 4, 2016, Secretary of Health Brigadier General Gerald Gwinji, said, “It has come to our attention that health workers might not report for duty in their numbers due to the call by the Apex (Council) for a stay away with effect from 5th of July, 2016, due to non-payment of salaries.

“Contingency measures have been put in place to operate with limited staff. Assistance is required from the Defence Forces to augment coverage for emergency services especially in central hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo. The requested staff includes doctors, nurses and medical laboratory scientists.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care thought the CEOs (chief executive officers) and PMDs (provincial medical directors) will support the seconded health personnel as necessary in terms of accommodation, travelling and subsistence allowance.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association says nurses are failing to go to work following government’s delays in paying their June salaries.

Association secretary general, Enock Dongo, told VOA Studio 7 that the $100 allowance given to nurses recently was eroded by bank loans and other expenses.

Dongo said government needs to urgently address the issue as patients will bear the brunt of the impasse.

"The nurses are ready to go back to work as soon as the government pays out the June salaries which were delayed. It's a pity that the patients are the ones that will bear the brunt of this impasse," said Dongo.

In a related development, church groups in the southern region of Zimbabwe on Tuesday issued a statement saying they are concerned about the police’s heavy handedness on protesters, the import ban on basic commodities, pending introduction of bond coins, large number of police road blocks and lack of payment of civil servants’ salaries.

Workers throughout the country are expected to carry out a massive stay away Wednesday to protest against the continuing deterioration of the country's economy.

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