Zimbabwean doctors strike over pay, conditions

File: Doctors in Zimbabwe are protesting against poor pay and conditions. Photo: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE – Zimbabwe's ailing health sector has been dealt another blow, after thousands of doctors across the country downed tools.

They're protesting against what they call government’s unwillingness to implement "logical decisions".

READ: Soldiers, police to join Zim protests

Severe drought and a failing economy hit Zimbabwe's hospitals hard last year and now the collapsing sector is facing the challenge of a national strike.

Bulawayo doctor, Obert Sibanda said: "We've got very simple demands. What we are asking for is for an open practice licence upon completion of an internship. The second thing we are asking for is on-call allowances. The third thing we are asking for is concerning the workload considering there are very few doctors."

Some doctors say they've tried reaching out to officials to no avail.

Zimbabwean doctors earn an average of R4,000 a month but money isn't their only concern. Many trainees finish their internships, with unsure futures.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association spokesperson, Alfonso Musvaba said: "We are waiting for a guarantee from the government that those doctors who are finishing their internships are going to get posts. So until we get that guarantee the strike is going on."

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa has pleaded with doctors to go back to work, while negotiations go ahead, but doctors have said they won't return to work until their demands are met.
 

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