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Zimbabwe Public Hospitals Return To Normal With End of Doctor Strike

Most of the public hospital doctors in Harare and Bulawayo who had been on strike for up to 10 weeks until the resolution of the labor dispute on Monday have gone back to work, according to sources among the doctors and in the health care system.

Most of the 350 doctors involved in the strike were back in wards. But some Harare Hospital residents said they were holding out because they did not like the settlement terms agreed by doctor representatives and the Health Services Board.

More than 90 residents at Harare Hospital received dismissal letters during the strike. Although Health Minister David Parirenyatwa declared those letters null and void, the hospital was requiring some doctors to sign forms in order to resume work.

Hospital Doctors Association President Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that all the doctors are dissatisfied with the terms, but some agreed to go back to work while their grievances are examined.

The Health Services Board has not disclosed the raise the doctors received, indicating that an official review continues. But the board said the increases granted the doctors were in line with those given to civil servants in a deal reached last week.

Doctors said they were expecting salaries ranging from Z$1.9 million to Z$2.2 million (US$250-$300) a month. The Health Services Board said it was also extending the doctors each a Z$30 million (US$4,000) loan to purchase a motor vehicle.

Junior resident Derek Mangoya of United Bulawayo Hospitals told reporter Carole Gombakomba about the process of returning to normal hospital operations.

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