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Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Doctors and Nurses strikes
ZIMCET statement on doctors strike
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)
January 13, 2007
The Zimbabwe Civic Education
Trust (ZIMCET) would like to express dismay over the unattended
to prolonged strike by junior doctors. Junior doctors are currently
on an industrial action which is in its fifth week demanding better
working conditions and remuneration which are commensurate with
the importance of the work they are rendering to the nation. If
history is to repeat itself, then nurses will join the strike in
the near future and the obvious support from senior doctors (consultants)
towards the junior doctors' plight will obviously witness
the total collapse of the health delivery system.
ZIMCET strongly believes
that Peace is more than just the mere absence of war as it goes
down to the root of people's survival in communities. There
is absence of peace among the doctors and moreso for the patients
who are failing to get medical attention which is a basic human
right. Their right to health is being compromised and the government
is failing to protect this fundamental right by ensuring that there
is a conducive environment for that right to be fully enjoyed.
Granted, the doctors
are justified to press for better working conditions and remuneration
but we call on the government and doctors to seek an amicable solution
at the earliest opportunity. The striking culture has become endemic
in the country as the health professionals resort to downing tools
on a yearly basis as a way to call on the government to be sensitive
to their plight. ZIMCET urges the two parties to seek and achieve
a lasting solution to the perennial problem through sustained dialogue.
There is need for dialogue to amicably iron out the sticky issues
so that a win-win situation is achieved. The Minister of Health
and Child Welfare did not help matters by telling the doctors that
they are were trainees and as such they should be informed that
they had no right to strike. He added that the government would
be looking at the grievances but made it abundantly clear that the
doctors' demands might be difficult to meet.
Patients are being turned
away from the major referrals hospitals where only emergency cases
are being attended to. This flies in the face of the medical ethics
as enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath which upholds the sanctity
of human life but the doctors are rightly arguing that they can
not work on empty stomachs. Newspapers are awash with reports of
people who risk losing their lives due the lack of medical attention.
Large numbers of patients are being turned away and being discharged
from hospitals as part of a strategic downsizing exercise meant
to contain the strike's drastic effects. On the other end
the government, through the Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
have been urging the doctors to end the strike while their grievances
are being looked into but avoiding making concrete assurances.
Education Trust calls upon the disputing parties to come to the
negotiating table so that the peaceful solution is arrived at soon
and cut on the number of people who continue to lose lives unnecessarily.
There definitely should be a way to address the impasse and probably
through a Presidential intervention.
Visit ZIMCET's fact
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