November 24, 2005

Army doctors to take over from striking colleagues

40 doctors from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) and 35 others from the Ministry of Health are expected to replace the sacked Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) doctors. About 179 doctors and other striking staff did not heed the directive to return to work and were subsequently summarily dismissed. The government’s move was announced a day after it fired all doctors, pharmacists and auxiliary staff of the country’s largest referral hospital for defying orders to end the strike, which had lasted about a week. According to several news reports, the strikers had continued with their work stoppage despite the government's agreement to increase the minimum monthly salary for doctors from 226.860 shillings (US $193) to 403.120 shillings ($342) effective January 2006.
MNH chairman of the board of directors Abdulrahman Kinana made public the government’s decision when he briefed the press on further action that would be taken against the striking doctors. According to him, the strike had also adversely affected services at the hospital. He also explained that the government was making arrangements to get more doctors from the police, prisons department, Tanzania Drug and Food Association (TDFA) and the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). Soon, the chairman said, the government would recall retired specialist doctors to fill the void left by the sacked doctors to bring services back to normal. (Tanzania Standard, Dar Es Salaam)

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