By Tawanda Musariri
The month long doctors’ strike came to an end today following progressive discussions between Government and the doctors.
“ZHDA is delighted to inform the membership, members of the press and public that the industrial action by doctors in Government hospitals has come to an end,” reads a statement dated 10 January 2019 from the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association.
This comes in the background of a crippling 40 day strike by the junior doctors aiming to win a raft of demands from their employer, among them remuneration in foreign currency.
The end of the job action follows a gentlemen’s agreement between the ZHDA and the Health Service Board, the employer of the doctors.
“The MOHCC has committed in writing that it will consistently improve supply of medicines, medical and surgical sundries in public health facilities. It was further agreed that there is going to be unfreezing of critical posts for doctors across Central, Provincial and District hospitals. We hope these promises will be fulfilled with urgency, as it has been the culture of the Health Service Board to go back on agreements before. We also continue to negotiate on outstanding issues like remuneration and working hours, and we hope we find common ground soon,” continued the ZHDA communiqué.
The Doctors’ body expressed confidence in the negotiations and has further expressed its regrets at the inconvenience to patients in the eight weeks of disagreement between them and their employer leading to non provision of service.
The doctors softened their stance following the intervention of the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa last week. The doctors had vowed never to return to work until their salaries were paid in foreign currency, a position the government declined to commit to citing lack of capacity.
“We, as ZHDA, reaffirm to the Government our determination and commitment to unite and work towards a healthy and prosperous Zimbabwe. We wish to do so, through advocating for efficient and effective health delivery system and improvement of service for doctors.”