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Health Service Board Chief Says Few Nurses, Junior Doctors on Strike in Zimbabwe Amid Reports of Chaos in Hospitals

Health Service Board chairperson, Dr. Paulinus Sikhosana
Health Service Board chairperson, Dr. Paulinus Sikhosana

Health Service Board chairperson, Doctor Paulinus Sikosana, says few nurses, junior doctors and other health professionals are on strike amid reports that some government hospitals have shutdown certain critical sections due to lack of manpower.

In an interview, Dr. Sikosana said the industrial action was at few general hospitals.

He said, "There is no general strike or industrial action as such. It's just three hot spots in Mashonaland West at Chinhoyi General Hospital where some health workers have been on and off and then in Midlands though it's subsiding, Parirenyatwa Hospital where they are picketing. They will picket at 8 or 9am and then go back to work while in all other hospitals like Mpilo, UBH (United Bulawayo Hospitals), Ingutsheni and Chitungwiza they are at work. Harare (Hospital) I think initially they were picketing and would go back to work."

Asked about the nurses, doctors and other health professionals' demands, including payment of salaries in United States dollars, Dr. Sikosana said this issue has not been raised in their meetings.

"The meetings we held with health workers they didn't insist on U.S. dollar salaries and actually what they were pursuing is what we call health specific allowances because salaries are a whole of a government issue. They said their concern is the addressing of health specific allowances. So, that's what we are focusing on."

Dr. Sikosana said the Health Service Board has already submitted a list of the nurses and other health professionals' demands to the government.

"I'm positive that we will address this issue very soon," he said.

But the health professionals insist that they want their salaries to be paid in United States dollars as the local currency has been devalued to uncontrollable levels.