Senior doctors at Zimbabwe‘s public hospitals have gone on strike to protest against the dismissal of junior colleagues who have boycotted work over pay for nearly three months, deepening a crisis in the country’s health sector. Channel News Asia reports that Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade that has seen resurgent inflation soaring to three-digit levels, eroding salaries and savings and re-igniting memories of the hyperinflation era of a decade ago.
Senior doctors had continued to provide emergency services after their junior colleagues stopped working on the 3 September to demand higher pay. At least 448 junior doctors have been fired and many more are awaiting disciplinary hearings. A Zimbabwean Senior Hospital Doctors’ Association (SHDA) spokesperson would not say how many of the 200 senior doctors, including specialists, had gone on strike.
Health Minister Obadiah Moyo told a post-cabinet media briefing that he was not aware of the strike by senior doctors and said the government would continue its disciplinary action against those who were boycotting work. Moyo said the government would this week post advertisements to fill vacancies left by the sacked doctors. However, Zimbabwe already has a shortage of doctors, with many having gone abroad to seek better opportunities.
The report says many Zimbabweans are angry that top government officials continue to travel abroad for treatment while state hospitals are turning away patients because of the doctors’ strike.Channel News Asia report