BY VANESSA GONYE
Public hospital doctors have lashed out at the Health Services Board (HSB) for firing 77 doctors since Tuesday. Addressing Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) members and the media at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday, the association’s vice-president Masimba Ndoro said the move by government was costly, especially on citizens who have no healthcare givers.
“This is an abnormal situation which requires solutions not to waste taxpayers’ money. It is a move we have anticipated; we knew they would take that route as we started our strike. It will not capacitate our doctors and it won’t change the situation in our health system,” he said. Ndoro said the doctors would stick to their guns even in the face of more threats from their employer until they reach a reasonable agreement.
ZHDA acting secretary-general, Tawanda Zvakada said the decision of the HSB was proof that they were not in their right senses and as an association they would wait for them to come to their senses and reach a meaningful conclusion on the matter that has been hogging the limelight for a number of years.
“We hope this is the last strike, we want a long-lasting solution to prevent these impasses and we have proposed that the salary is paid at interbank rate to avoid situations where our earnings are eroded just a month after they would have been reviewed,” he said.
ZHDA treasurer-general Tapiwa Mungofa, questioned HSB’s credibility as they have diverted from their mandate of representing them and to act on issues that pose a threat to their calling.
“The decision to fire doctors came as dismay to the doctoring profession; the HSB is mandated with a very simple task, but it’s a shock they have been barbaric, firing the few doctors the country has,” he said. Mungofa said the doctors remain open and available for dialogue.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Itai Rusike said the dismissals will neither address the problems affecting the doctors nor boost their morale.
“CWGH has learnt with great concern the dismissal of the doctors that are currently affected by incapacitation. We strongly urge the government to find amicable ways of dealing with the doctors’ incapacitation crisis without sacrificing the health of the masses,” Rusike said.
He said the country has a pathetic doctor-patient ratio that has left the available human resources stretched to the limit, thereby compromising quality of care.
“We implore the HSB to reconsider its decision and fully take advantage of the dialogue process being facilitated by CWGH,” Rusike said.
Rusike called on the two parties to find amicable ways of dealing with such problems while prioritising the lives of patients and the general public that depend on the public health institutions.
Trevor Chivandire, one of the fired 77 doctors, said as professionals who have their country’s interests at heart they were going to try and re-engage their employer and would try other avenues if the move does not yield results.