Saturday, 18 May, 2024
HomeWeekly RoundupZimbabwe's doctors return to work after billionaire provides funding for six months

Zimbabwe's doctors return to work after billionaire provides funding for six months

Zimbabwe's doctors have agreed to return to work after accepting a funding offer from a billionaire, reports BBC News. The prolonged strike over pay and poor conditions lasted more than four months, paralysing the country's healthcare sector.

The report says last year, Zimbabwean telecoms billionaire Strive Masiyiwa tabled an offer to break the impasse. Masiyiwa said he would set up a 100m Zimbabwean dollar ($6.25m) fund, which would fund would pay up to 2,000 doctors a subsistence allowance of about US$300 a month to help them with transport and living costs. The billionaire, a private citizen who lives in the UK, will fund the doctors for six months through a fellowship programme run by his Higherlife Foundation, a charitable organisation.

The report says what happens after that period, however, is not clear.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) confirmed Masiyiwa's offer had been accepted. Senior and junior doctors have agreed to go back to work as part of the same deal. But, Dr Tawanda Zvakada, spokesperson for the ZHDA, is quoted in the report as saying that doctors were "still looking for a long-term solution". Most of the striking doctors were earning less US$100 a month, leaving them struggling to buy food or get to work.

They are demanding salary increases pegged to the US dollar to cope with triple-digit inflation stoked by Zimbabwe's collapsing economy but the Zimbabwean government has said it cannot afford to increase salaries.

The report says it is yet to comment on Masiyiwa's offer.

A report on the IoL site says senior doctors at government hospitals in Zimbabwe, who have been providing limited services and attending to emergency cases only since December, have returned to work. This follows a meeting between executives of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association and acting President Constantino Chiwenga who committed to address challenges in the ailing health sector.

[link url="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51205619"]Full BBC News report[/link]

[link url="https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/zimbabwes-senior-doctors-return-to-work-after-months-of-strike-action-41059229"]Full report on the IoL site[/link]

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