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Zimbabwe Doctors' Strike Continues As Govt Calls for End of Industrial Action

FILE: A patient is taken home on a stretcher by his relatives from Parirenyatwa hospital's accident and emergency ward in the capital Harare August 21, 2009. State doctors are currently demanding an upward review of their allowances.

Some junior doctors in Zimbabwe’s five public hospitals have pushed back on government’s call for them to return to work while they negotiate their grievances over allowances.

Earlier in the week the Hospital Doctors’ Association issued an ultimatum to government to meet their demand for increased cost of living allowances or they will not report to work due to what they call incapacitation.

The doctors, who acknowledge receiving an increase of about US$50 to US$60, say the money is not enough for them to report to work. They are demanding an upward review of the allowances.

Acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, Dr. Peter Magombeyi, says the government has to do more.

“… This money has actually lost value in our own settings in that it can get finished in three days. We would actually be crying again. The prevailing interbank rate is our minimum requirement. We surely appreciate the efforts being made by our government and our employer, suffice to say, but we believe they can do better than that.”

Acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, Dr. Peter Magombeyi
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Meanwhile, Dr. Paulinas Sikosana, who chairs the Health Services Board which is responsible for doctors’ salaries, says the doctors are not giving negotiation a chance to resolve the issue.

Dr. Sikosana says they have approached Treasury for extra money to address the doctors’ concerns.

“We have since submitted a proposal to Treasury on scenarios for the review of these allowances. Treasury is yet to come back to us.”

Interview With Dr. Paulinus Sikosana
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Some patients are being sent back home at these hospitals due to the industrial action.

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