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  • Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Doctors and Nurses strikes

  • Doctors and nurses on strike
    Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa
    September 28, 2007

    Visit the index of articles on the doctors' and nurses' strikes

    Doctors and nurses at Harare's major hospitals are on a go-slow strike protesting poor salaries and allowances. The strike began last week Friday. A visit to Harare Central Hospital on Wednesday by our correspondent confirmed that hundreds of patients have been left stranded as a result. At the centre of the latest grievance is a government decision to cut allowances for doctors from Z$8 million to Z$5 million per month, without notice. Doctors are currently earning around Z$12 million a month after allowances and yet this is way below the Z$90 million they are demanding.

    Nurses are also unhappy at their Z$3,8 million a month salaries, lagging behind the poverty datum line that shot up to Z$12 million in September. In the previous strike by doctors, government promised them vehicles as part of the settlement that ended the industrial action. Month's down the line government has still not honoured its part of the deal and doctors are unhappy. Referral clinics around the capital which traditionally offer cheaper treatment are inundated with patients desperate for attention. Simon Muchemwa in Harare tells us that what's worse is that some of these smaller council run clinics now have nurses who have joined the strike.

    The loss of life caused by the strike is hitting many families hard. Newsreel understands Emmanuel 'Manu' Jera, a popular guitarist who played with several bands including Thomas Mapfumo died Wednesday morning after being left unattended at Harare Hospital. Jera collapsed and was found unconscious on the streets of Harare suburb Mufakose, the night before. Because doctors and nurses are on a go slow, no one was able to attend to him.

    Meanwhile the UK Daily Mail reports that one fifth of Zimbabwe's trained nurses were recruited to work in the United Kingdom last year. The UK Home Office is reported to have issued 1610 work permits for nurses from the country. All in all 5200 doctors and nurses were hired from African countries. Figures from the World Health Organisation say Zimbabwe has less than 9000 nurses, meaning a nurse patient ratio of 1 for every 1400 people. The UK ratio is 1 for every 156 patients.

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