Zimbabwean doctors on strike again

HARARE - Zimbabwe's junior medical doctors are on strike demanding an 800 percent salary increment and an improvement in their conditions of service.

The latest strike comes barely two months after another job action by junior doctors countrywide over fuel allocation which is in short supply and improved conditions of service.

The doctors are demanding adequate resources in hospitals like drugs, protective clothing and methylated spirits. The striking doctors said they wrote a letter to the government two months ago expressing their concerns but the Harare authorities were still to respond to their demands.

"We haven't received any response yet. That explains why it has forced doctors to take such action," said Dr Takarunda Chinyoka, president of the Zimbabwe Medical Doctors Association which represents junior and middle-ranking doctors in the country.

Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment last night.

Strikes by state doctors and nurses either for better pay or working conditions have become routine as Zimbabwe's public health delivery system crumbles after years of under-funding and mismanagement. Equipment is largely derelict in state hospitals many of which do not have essential drugs because of a critical shortage of foreign currency to pay suppliers.

Thousands of health care workers have left the country for better paying jobs in Britain, South Africa and other Western countries worsening Zimbabwe's already serious health delivery crisis.

Zimbabwe is going through its worst ever economic crisis blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies. - ZimOnline