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Zimbabwe State Hospital Shutdown as Doctors, Nurses Strike Paralyzes Nation

Doctors striking in Harare

Harare Central Hospital has been shutdown following a crippling doctors’ strike joined by nurses, surgical registrars and other critical staff.

The workers said they were no longer in a position to perform their duties as they are being equally affected by the doctors’ strike.

Nurses in other parts of the country have joined the industrial action, which started two weeks ago.

Doctors are demanding improved allowances, medical equipment and other issues.

In a letter to the clinical director at Harare Hospital, all heads of division and chairperson of the Department of Surgery at the University of Zimbabwe, surgical registrars said they can’t perform their duties without doctors and other staff members.

“We have noted with great concern the deterioration in (the) level of care of our patients because of the current industrial action. This has been due to the cessation of duties by junior residents medical officers. We have also noted the grievances that they have brought forward to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and we deem them valid as they affect the whole body of doctors including surgical registrars in training.

“We are overwhelmed by the gap left and also in support of an expeditious resolution to these grievances we are withholding our services as of 16th March 2018 until these grievances are attended to.”

Hospital authorities were not available for comment.

Elsewhere, nurses at United Bulawayo Hospitals joined the doctors’ strike demanding an increase in salaries and improved working conditions.

The hospital’s Director of Clinical Services, Dr. N. B.Dzvanga on Friday sent out a memo to all relevant departments informing them about the nurses’ industrial action.

“Please be advised that some of the registered general nurses have joined the current industrial action by doctors. Therefore doctors are advised to admit only critically ill patients until further notice.”

At the sametime, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says Health Minister David Parirenyatwa should resign as he has failed over the years to run the country’s health sector.

“The ZCTU observes with sadness that Zimbabwe’s public health system has deteriorated significantly over the years under the stewardship of Minister David Parirenyatwa, who has almost become a career Health Minister. The minister has failed and should be man enough and call it quits.

“We also demand that government should, as a matter of urgency, address the needs of striking doctors in order to avoid further loss of lives. It should find a lasting solution to this perennial problem otherwise we will be faced with the same problem of doctors going on strike year after year.”

Parirenyatwa was not available for comment.

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