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Zimbabwe Doctors Demanding Pay Hike go on Strike

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa

The country’s junior and middle level doctors downed tools Monday to press the cash-strapped government to improve their salaries and working conditions.

But the strike of about 400 doctors is putting the country at high risk of the 2014 Ebola epidemic, the largest in history, affecting several countries in West Africa.

More than 4,922 people have died as a result of the Ebola virus so far.

The doctors who have downed tools are at Parirenyatwa, United Bulawayo Hospital, Mpilo and Chitungwiza. The striking doctors are also complaining that they are being intimidated by unknown people they suspect to be state security agents.

The doctors issued an ultimatum to the government earlier in the month demanding an upward review of the basic salary for junior doctors, who they said are receiving about $282 a month, to a minimum of $1,200 per month, exclusive of allowances.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Bulawayo chapter president, Emmason Pazara, says there is no going back on their industrial action.

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Executive chairman of the Health Service Board, Dr. Lovemore Mbengeranwa, says doctors did not exhaust all channels of communication and the industrial action is illegal.

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