WASHINGTON DC —
Junior and senior medical doctors who downed tools on Thursday have called off the industrial action to pave way for dialogue with authorities.
The strike had threatened to paralyse the health delivery system at a time when the world is on high alert following the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that has claimed more than 3,000 lives.
The doctors went on strike demanding better working conditions and the reinstatement of their housing allowances that had been withdrawn by the cash-strapped government.
The doctors also complained that they have not had tapped water for the past six months, a situation they said was unacceptable.
More than three quarters of the country's revenue goes to paying the salaries of more than 250,000 civil servants, leaving little money to pay down debt and to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure.
Starved of foreign investment and donor funding, Zimbabwe's economy has been sluggish since accelerating at near double-digit rates between 2009 and 2012, when it emerged from a decade of recession.
Sources in the Zimbabwe health service board told VOA Studio 7 that it is unlikely that the government will meet the doctors’ demands - paving way for more confrontation. Doctors are believed to have given the government a two-week ultimatum to address their grievances.
Efforts to get a comment from Parirenyatwa Hospital chief executive officer, Thomas Zigora, were futile as he was said to be out of his office.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa was also unreachable on his mobile phone.
A committee member of the Hospital Doctors’ Association Dr. Nyasha Mtetwa said negotiations are now underway.