October 24, 2003

Doctors on strike again

Junior and middle level doctors in Harare and Bulawayo’s referral centres are on strike to press for a monthly salary of $30 million. Hospital Doctors Association president, Dr Phibion Manyanga, furthermore said that they had gone on strike because their employer, the Public Service Commission (PSC), had ignored their grievances and had not given them any feedback on the outcome of the meeting held on salary increases. He said that doctors are demanding $30m after they made calculations of the current cost of living, which includes rent, school fees and monthly instalments: "Any professional should be able to afford to have three decent meals a day, buy furniture such as a hi-fi, bed, stove, refrigerator, television and video cassette recorders but the opposite is happening because of our salaries."

PSC secretary Mr Ray Ndhlukula said he was not aware of the strike and referred all questions to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, replied that it was very unfortunate that doctors would decide to go on a strike at a time when people were suffering in hospitals owing to the shortage of doctors: "Anyone who goes on strike at a time like this especially in the health sector would be doing an unethical practice. Doctors should always put the lives of their patients first." (The Herald, Harare)

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