Zimbabwe doctor strike ends, sacked GPs to reapply

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Zimbabwean doctors who have been on strike for close to a month have
called off their strike, giving the government a one-month ultimatum to increase their salaries.

The doctors at the four largest hospitals in the country have been pressing for increments of their salaries and allowances from the current US $390 to a minimum of US $1,000.

Hospital Doctors Association president Dr Brighton Chizhanje, in a notice to the striking doctors dated August 26, stated that the strike action had been called off and all doctors were expected to return to work by September 1.

“After some deep rooted and soul-searching considerations for our patients whom we consider to have the right to health as enshrined in our oaths as patriotic health professionals, we have decided to call off the industrial action,” Chizhanje stated.

“We are giving government and our central hospitals an ultimatum of a month to take the necessary steps to leave the health worker with well-deserved package.”

Some of the striking doctors were fired last week and told to re-apply for their jobs.

The doctors’ association urged all the doctors who had received the letters terminating their appointments to re-apply, as their re-instatement was guaranteed.

“We urge all health professionals who received letters of dismissal to now go back and apply for re-instatement which we consider is guaranteed by our beloved government as we fight to curb brain drain,” Chizhanje stated.

He stated that the association would continue negotiations with the government, donors, central hospitals boards and other stakeholders to “mend the gaps” in the country’s health delivery system.

“It will not take a Hamlet ghost nor kindergarten mentality to see that Zimbabwe has a lot of potential and with commitment from every citizen, our health delivery system will one day approach that of first world countries… We urge politicians to play their game of politics outside the health delivery system as this system concerns human life,” Chizhanje stated.

The doctors claimed that the fear of a looming health crisis played a large part in their returning to work, following the reports of new cholera cases and an outbreak of swine flu.

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