Zimbabwe doctors protest over ailing health system

HARARE – Truckloads of riot police were deployed outside Harare's main hospital on Tuesday to prevent scores of doctors and nurses from marching in protest at the state of Zimbabwe's collapsing health system.

Many of the group of about 100 health professionals took off their shoes to dance and sing in the parking lot of Parirenyatwa Hospital, vowing to stay away from work until a recent outbreak of cholera is brought under control.

At least 50 people are believed to have died of cholera this month, according to health officials, due to the rapid break down in sanitation in many parts of the capital.

The protesters were also demanding that the government review their salaries, which have failed to keep pace with skyrocketing inflation.

Some of the protesters held posters reading: "Enough is enough" and "Pay health workers properly."

Zimbabwe’s health system, once among the best in Africa, has collapsed under the weight of the world’s highest inflation rate, last estimated in July at 231-million percent, with many hospitals unable to provide even basic medicines.

Zimbabwean authorities routinely deploy riot police to the scenes of protests against the policies of President Robert Mugabe’s regime. — Sapa-AFP