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Zimbabwe Doctors Call Off Crippling 31-Day Strike

Dr. Mxolisi Ngwenya
Dr. Mxolisi Ngwenya

Zimbabweans doctors on Saturday ended a 31-day strike that paralyzed state health institutions.

According to Dr. Mxolisi Ngwenya, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA), the Health Service Board has agreed to review upwards their on-call allowances and to provide equipment needed in hospitals.

Dr. Ngwenya said, “Following the intervention of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde E. D Mnangagwa, there has been positive developments. We have entered an agreement with the Health Services Board and the procurement of essential medicines and drugs is in motion and we expect an improvement soon, so as to offer quality health care to all patients.

“We have received an upward review of on call allowances, noting that members work round the clock for up to 360 continuous hours. This is a health specific allowance. Understanding the current limitations in the economy, we hope to continually review until we attain regional and international standards. With effect from today, until latest 02 April 2018, ZHDA members will report for duty. Normal work has resumed.”

Dr. Ngwenya said the junior doctors will stage another industrial action if the Health Service Board does not honor the agreement.

Junior doctors’ on call allowance will be reviewed from the current $1.50 per hour to $7.50 per hour for 160 hours as a flat fee of $1,200 per month.

Indications are that the on call allowance would be reviewed to $10 in the next national budget.

The Health Service Board confirmed the latest developments, noting that the government is expected to mobilize funds to pay the doctors the reviewed allowances and other basic necessities.