Senior doctors say they will not re-apply for work

THERE appears to be no end in sight for Zimbabwe’s health delivery crisis after senior doctors who have been taking care of emergency medical cases in public hospitals on Wednesday said they will not be re-applying “to come back to work” adding it is absurd for one to be dismissed for being incapacitated.

This comes after government fired over 435 medical officers following a salary impasse.

Senior doctors are also under fire with some having received letters discharging them from the health service over misconduct arising from the standoff.

“We do not accept that one can be dismissed for being incapacitated to come to work in an unsafe environment with nothing to use,” Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) said on Wednesday.

 “We continued to work with the little we had, while patiently waiting for the promised equipment.”

SHDA said contrary to statements made on November 26 at a Cabinet briefing, senior doctors have over the past two months continued to offer emergency services at the various public sector hospitals while the employer withheld their salaries.

“As we speak, disciplinary letters are being handed out to senior doctors, including those who have been doing their best to save lives in the hostile public sector,” SHDA said.

“The authorities are so vindictive that they went to the theatre to hand a letter to a doctor who was finishing up an emergency operation. For the record, senior doctors will not be re-applying to come back to work. We do not accept that one can be dismissed for being incapacitated to come to work in an unsafe environment with nothing to use. We reiterate, we are not on strike,” the group added.

SHDA said government has no interest or intention to solve the crisis in the health sector.

The doctors said in March this year the situation in hospitals deteriorated to the point where there were no bandages, gloves and syringes available, forcing senior doctors to highlight the dire situation publicly.

“There was much fanfare and ribbon cutting, and images of warehouses full of drugs which turned out to be cartons of fluids. Out of an inventory list of 2000 items, only about 60 had been purchased. The Indian consignment was a great disappointment,” SHDA said.

“The vast majority of the equipment which was released was completely unusable. This past week, technicians arrived to commission the remaining equipment. They proceeded to unveil second hand, refurbished equipment which is no longer being manufactured by the parent company (details available). The hospitals continue to be poorly stocked and remain a death trap, even with the presence of the hard-working, highly specialized workforce that Zimbabwe has.”

Meanwhile, telecommunications magnate Strive Masiyiwa is reported to have offered to hire at least 2000 doctors wherein he will pay a subsistence allowance of $5000.

This disbursement will be done by his organisation Higher Life Foundation, as stated in a statement released Wednesday.