Doctors association slams government over threats to striking medical professionals

Charles Mabhena

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), has put its weight behind the striking doctors in the country, calling for the government to urgently attend to the matter and avoid being big headed by threatening to fire them, as they not only work to enhance their well being but to enhance quality of healthcare to all Zimbabweans.

ZADHR says health professionals are pivotal in the advancement of the right to healthcare as enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe, and it would be senseless to threaten them.

ZANU PF government has recently threatened to fire the striking doctors for demanding improved working conditions and better salaries.

This came out as reports that the Ministry of Health and Child Care is on a witch-hunt exercise of all those who have engaged in the industrial action filter through.

The Operations Directorate at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals (Government owned) has since started acting on the call; and will see it staging a duty roaster to identify any absentees for punishment.

“Anyone not available at the time of the roll call; will be deemed not available for service and subject to removal from duty roaster without pay,” reads a report from the hospital.

ZADHR is against the move and calls the government to stop this madness, and calls upon the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Health Services Board to urgently address the concerns of striking doctors, so that the health of the citizens is improved.

“We therefore call upon the Ministry of Health and Child Care to urgently improve the conditions of work for health professionals instead of issuing threats of ostracisation and victimization and to ensure that essential drugs and medicines are provided in all public health institutions,” it says in a statement.

In so doing the association says it wishes to reiterate and lament the undesirable exposure of patients and indeed all Zimbabweans to violations of their right to healthcare.

“We note that while the bickering and gerrymandering continues patients continue to suffer,” it adds.

ZADHR adds that it is therefore paramount for the responsible institutions to address the concerns of the doctors to avoid needle loss of lives in Zimbabwe’s hospitals. “Medical professionals are an important cog in the resuscitation and development of the health sector.  We believe prioritizing their conditions of service will motivate the doctors to contribute towards better health outcomes for the nation,” says the association.