At least 10 doctors on strike at Harare Central Hospital received dismissal letters from the institution's chief executive officer, sources at the hospital said Wednesday.
The sources said CEO Julius Nderere personally handed the doctors the letters of dismissal saying the residents had breached the country's health services regulations stating that doctors cannot be absent from their duties for more than 30 days.
But the state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Health Minister David Parirenyatwa as saying the physicians had not been fired. Efforts to reach Dr. Parirenyatwa or another senior Health Ministry official for clarification were unsuccessful.
A strike by residents at the four main public hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo is in its seventh week. The doctors are demanding an increase in their salaries to Z$5 million, improved housing and concessions related to transportation.
Amon Siveregi, who has been representing striking junior residents, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the dismissal letters should be welcome because they free the doctors to find work in other countries.