Zim govt fires its only pelvis ortho surgeon

GOVERNMENT has discharged Zimbabwe’s only pelvis ortho surgeon, Dr Mageza Chiwamba, over his failure to attend a disciplinary hearing for participating in a collective job action.

Chiwamba on Monday received a letter from the Health Services Board stating that Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals had reason to believe that he committed an act of misconduct as defined under section 4 of the National Employment Code.

“Zim’s only pelvis ortho surgeon has just received his letter to come for a hearing,” Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) wrote on their Twitter account, adding: “He is not attending; consider him fired. Weldone, Dr Obadiah Moyo.”

The Health and Child Care ministry said it would publish an advert in the Press of all the posts that have become vacant as a result of the disciplinary processes before end of this week.

Government says 508 disciplinary cases had been heard so far, with an additional 43 doctors from the provinces awaiting hearing.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Health minister Obadiah Moyo said the serving of charge letters for 57 senior doctors at central hospitals had commenced on November 25, 2019.

“Five hundred and eight disciplinary cases on doctors who have not been coming to work have so far been heard, of which 498 were found guilty,” Moyo said.

“Four hundred and forty-eight doctors have been discharged from service and since then, an additional 13 doctors were found guilty and discharged.  Penalties were meted on all of them, making a cumulative total of 448 discharged doctors,” he added.

Moyo rubbished claims that government was not being sincere in their negotiation engagements with doctors, who are demanding the pegging of their salaries at the interbank rate as well as the capacitation of hospitals to allow them to save lives.

“On the issue regarding negotiations via disciplinary hearing, definitely that is what we have been doing.  We have been calling for meetings.  I personally have been having meetings with the senior doctors.  I have been having meetings with the junior doctors and these meetings have been actually very fruitful and that is why we started,” Moyo said.

“Initially, there was no discussion and not because they were being kept away through some other subversive actions; however, we managed to get to talking.  So, what is very critical at the moment is the fact that the doctors – we have advised everyone that there will be adverts in the paper.  Those adverts will allow for anyone who is qualified and registered to be able to apply for a job. There is absolutely no way that we would say we want everyone to go away.  What we want to happen is that due processes must be followed,” he continued.

“The Labour Court ruled and gave an instruction through the Attorney General’s office.  That is where the law is going through and we as the Health and Child Care ministry, we have now gone forward and are now in the recruitment exercise. So, there is nothing lost.”

Moyo added that government had worked tirelessly to try and address the issue of shortages of resources in hospitals.

“It must be acknowledged, Madam Speaker, that these problems have existed for a number of decades and their solution is not going to be an overnight thing,” he said.

Senior doctors who have been taking care of emergency medical cases in public hospitals on Wednesday said they would not be re-applying “to come back to work”, adding it was absurd for one to be dismissed for being incapacitated.

In a statement earlier this week, senior doctors said contrary to statements made on November 26 at a Cabinet briefing, senior doctors had over the past two months continued to offer emergency services at the various public hospitals while the employer withheld their salaries.

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