Doctors, nurses end strike

hospital

Harare Bureau
Nomalcy has returned in public health institutions following resumption of duty by junior doctors and nurses.

Both the doctors and nurses’ representatives have applauded Government’s decision to prioritise the health sector in bonus payment, which will be effected in April.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association president Dr Edgar Munatsi said although all their members had returned to work, they still did not understand the reason why they were asked to sign resumption of duties forms.

“All members have resumed work but concerns are on the resumption of duty forms our members are being asked to sign. We are yet to find out what that entails,” said Dr Munatsi.

He, however, applauded the latest announcement on the 2016 bonus dates by Government saying it was a welcome development in prioritisation of the needs of the health sector.

The health sector together with defence forces will receive their bonuses in April.

Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (ZiNA) general secretary Mr Enock Dongo also welcomed the bonus payment dates but urged Government to plan on time to avoid loss of lives.

“We want to applaud Government for taking the health sector seriously and prioritising it on the payment of bonuses. What this shows is that there is no need for going on strike if things are planned properly and communicated on time,” said Mr Dongo.

“The challenge is our Government seems to understand the language of strikes for them to respond to our needs, which is basically not necessary.”

Doctors’ downed tools two weeks ago demanding an upward review of on call allowances, non-monetary incentives and creation of additional posts for district medical officers.

The Government has since increased the doctor’s on call allowances from $288 per month to $360 per month.

It also increased the night duty allowance from $50 to $91 on a sliding scale.

The duty free incentive has been replaced with the employer assisted car loan scheme.

The Government has also availed 250 posts for junior doctors.

Nurses joined the strike last Monday demanding a release of their bonus dates, availability of nursing posts, restructuring of the current public health structure and their grading system among other issues.

The Government has responded by announcing and prioritising payment of bonus to the health sector and availing 2 000 nursing posts.

Mr Dongo said they have since resumed work but negotiations will continue on other outstanding issues.