Drs’ strike throws health sector into chaos

THERE was chaos in the early hours of Thursday at various government hospitals as nurses turned away patients after senior doctors abandoned their duties, declaring incapacitation.

Senior doctors are joining the month-long junior doctors’ strike which started on September 3.

This is the second time this year doctors have gone on such a strike.

The latest developments come after doctors declared incapacitation on Monday, urging government to resolve their grievances to avoid a shutdown of all government hospitals.

Senior doctors advised government that their salaries could not sustain their daily routines and have pressed government and Treasury to pay them using the interbank rate.

An anal cancer patient from Chiredzi, who was turned away at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, said she had nowhere else to turn to as her condition was fast deteriorating due to the doctors’ strike.

“My wish is for the government to pay them enough so that we can get treatment because currently, these doctors are our only hope,” lamented one of the patients.

The woman also said the only drug she was getting was morphine, which had been prescribed her by nurses.

The rift between the doctors and government started in October.

Asked for a comment, Lainos Dhire, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ spokesperson, said the matter could now only be resolved by the Health Services Board (HSB) and the Health ministry.

He, however, said the hospital had managed to give accommodation to serious cases like of those patients under cancer treatment.

HSB spokesperson Tryfine Dzukutu also confirmed that the situation at government hospitals was dire, adding that negotiations with doctors were ongoing.

Majority of doctors are still on strike despite the holding of an informal meeting with the HSB concerning their remunerations.

Doctors argue that their current salaries did not match the cost of living as prices of basic commodities continued to rise, with government failing to influence their re-adjustments.