Zimbabwe: Harare redeploys doctors to beat strike

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government at the weekend began redeploying doctors from remote provinces to the country's four biggest hospitals to help ease a crippling six-week strike by medical practitioners .

Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa, who is currently on leave, yesterday told ZimOnline that his permanent secretary Edward Mabiza was already working on the modalities to reassign doctors to Parirenyatwa, Harare Central, Mpilo and United Bulawayo hospitals.

"We are redeploying doctors from the provinces to central hospitals so that services will continue to flow. The permanent secretary is working on the redeployment plan," said Parirenyatwa.

Zimbabwe's doctors downed tools last December demanding that the government increase their salaries from Z$56 000 to Z$5 million a month.

Although the government had promised to significantly hike the doctors' salaries in January, the doctors say they are still not happy with the 320 percent salary hike awarded by the government.

This latest salary increment will see the lowest paid doctor earning Z$239 000 a month, an amount the doctors say is way below their expectations in view of the current inflationary environment.

Zimbabwe's health delivery system, once lauded as one of the best in Africa, has virtually collapsed after years of under-funding and mismanagement.

An acute economic crisis now in its eighth year running has only helped worsen the situation with the government short of cash to import essential medicines and equipment, while the country has suffered the worst brain drain of doctors, nurses and other professionals seeking better opportunities abroad.