Junior and senior resident physicians in Zimbabwe's state-run hospitals have warned they may launch a new strike at month's end if the government fails to address their grievances over wages they say are not enough to live on as living costs soar.
Sources close to the doctors said those in Harare have not been receiving salaries and that some are being paid as little as Z$15,000 (50 U.S. cents) a month.
Reuters quoted Hospital Doctors Association President Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa as saying Zimbabwean doctors were living in "absolute poverty" and working under difficult conditions. He estimated doctors live on less than US$1 a day.
For the moment, residents say they have embarked on a slowdown. Many doctors and nurses who were on strike for 10 weeks from December to February said they do not have enough money to pay for transport to come to work every day.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa acknowledged to the state-run Herald newspaper last month that some health workers had stopped going to work for lack of funds.
Agence France Presse quoted Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti as saying that the governrment is aware of the doctors grievances and hopes to address them to the extent that it is able under the country's dire economic circumstances.
One Harare Hospital junior resident, requesting anonymity, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that some doctors have already gone out on strike, leaving state hospitals in the capital in a precarious situation.
Junior resident Derek Mangoya, a member of the Hospital Doctors Association at United Bulawayo Hospital, said that despite low morale, junior and senior residents in Bulawayo were still reporting for duty.