Government has heeded calls by members of the Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) after promising to attend to issues raised by the striking doctors during their industrial action last week.
In a joint statement by the Minister Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa and Executive Chairman of the Health Service Board, Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa said following submissions by the (ZHDA) to Health Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa through a letter dated 5 February 2018, highlighting their grievances, government had committed to attend to the raised issues.
“The need for ensuring continuity of health services, through the issuance of a revised Locum Policy Circular Number 1 of 2018 covering all health-workers, in January 2018 that should improve the management of locum and therefore ensure availability of staff at all times. Payment started reflecting on the February 2018 payroll,
“Due to the essential nature of health services, it is acknowledged that some critical staff may be required to report for duty at odd hours. BNP agreed to a scheme to address the transport requirements for health-workers,
“Following this agreement, government recently allocated US$10 million for the operationalization of the scheme. This information was communicated to the ZHDA representatives at the Extra-ordinary BNP meeting of 16 February 2018,
“The ZHDA representatives were informed at the BNP meeting of 13 February 2018 that posts are available for the uptake of all doctors completing internship in 2018. Government is aware that 160 doctors will be completing their internship in 2018. Currently there are 235 vacancies for Government Medical Offices and Hospital Medical Officers nationwide,” read the statement.
Government advised workers’ representatives of plans to unfreeze critical vacant posts of other health cadres with consultations said to be underway to identify the critical posts.
As part of their demands during the industrial action, doctors demanded locum payments, motor vehicle scheme, staff establishment, freeze of vacant positions and review of various allowances among other grievances.