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Doctors demand to meet Mugabe

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Striking junior doctors at public hospitals have demanded to meet President Robert Mugabe tomorrow after the Health ministry and the Health Services Board (HSB) failed to resolve their salary grievances.

FELUNA NLEYA/SAKHILE MOYO

In a statement last night, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA), which represents the 400 striking doctors, said it was compiling a dossier chronicling their challenges.

“The ZHDA executive committee is compiling a detailed dossier highlighting the challenges, negotiations, written assurance and proposed solutions that shall be submitted to the office of His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe by Thursday morning,” read the statement.

“The ZHDA is going to appeal to the president that an urgent solution be found, so as to avert the continued suffering and loss of lives.

“The ZHDA notes with great concern and disappointment the casual approach and inappropriately slow response in finding solutions to the crisis.”

ZHDA president Fortunate Nyamande said negotiations were taking long and asked the government to ensure a deal was struck soon.

“The negotiations are taking too long and it is becoming psychologically taxing, as patients are dying in hospitals,” he said.

“However, as doctors we will not resume our duties until we are offered a salary that we can accept and is written on paper.”

The doctors are demanding an upward review of their salaries from $282 to $1 200 per month excluding allowances.

They are also demanding free accommodation at government-owned flats and duty-free car imports.

The strike, which started last Monday, has forced the skeletal staff at most government referral hospitals to attend to emergency cases only.

Yesterday, the doctors attended a bipartite meeting, where they were told to prepare a position paper, which would be forwarded to Treasury for a possible salary review in the 2015 budget.

HSB spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika described the meeting as routine.

“We heard their concerns as Apex, with all other associations and they were told to prepare a position paper for 2015 budget to the Treasury,” Maravanyika said.

“The issue is that the government is trying to convince them to go back to work and we will see how far we will go on that.”

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