Government doctors have appealed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations (UN) to bail out the Zimbabwean government and supplement the salaries of more than 1800 incapacitated doctors who have not been reporting for duty for over 35 days now.
In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said the situation in the country’s hospitals is now beyond the government’s capacity hence their appeal for support from international development agencies.
“Major hospitals have not been functional for thirty-five days now as a result of incapacitation amongst doctors due to declining purchasing power. The lowest-paid doctors were earning an average of eighty (80) USD”
“The central government hospitals act as a hub for scarce specialist services and they are also training centers for doctors and nurses and other health professions. This current crisis if not resolved urgently will have far wide reaching consequences to the health delivery system in the country,” noted ZHDA.
The majority of the population relies on government hospitals for health care as they cannot afford private hospitals.
The largest referral hospital, Parirenyatwa received about 23 000 patients monthly with 5300 requiring emergency casualty services.
Doctors feel that the government has not been forthcoming to address their grievances and only responding with threats, intimidation of disciplinary action and dismissals.
The doctors also urged WHO to closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwean hospitals amid fears of catastrophic consequences to the health of citizens.
“We reaffirm our commitment to providing quality health care as soon as a decent wage is guaranteed. We further call upon WHO and UN to monitor the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwean hospitals,” read the statement.
Government is currently battling to contain the deteriorating situation in public hospitals amid reports of patients dying due to the absence of doctors to attend to them.
The doctors are adamant they will not report for duty until government increase their salaries and have even defied Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obadiah Moyo’s directive to report for work by yesterday morning.