Civil society organisations have slammed the Health Services Board (HSB) for suspending student doctor representatives on allegations of misconduct, arguing that the suspensions were unnecessary and only meant to gag the professionals from grieving.
The four doctors — Hugh Manyere, Edson Makoni, Rusununguko Kanyongo and Fourtune Nyamande — were suspended last Friday for inciting fellow student doctors to strike between 2014 and 2016 and publicly attacking the Minister of Health and Child Care and the health board. The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) and the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights called for the reinstatement of the suspended doctors who are all members of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association executive. CWGH executive director Mr Itai Rusike said the suspensions were not going to solve problems currently bedevilling the health sector.
“We strongly believe that dialogue is critical for the public health system to remain functional especially in the absence of adequate funding from Government. The suspensions will hence neither address problems affecting doctors nor boost their morale,” he said.
Mr Rusike said the civil society was disheartened by such actions because they only worsen the situation and it is the ordinary Zimbabwean that still suffers.
“Zimbabwe is already a country with a pathetic doctor-patient ratio that has left the available human resources stretched to the limit,”
“To then resolve labour conflicts by suspending the few doctors available will neither help the country achieve its various health targets nor fulfil the dictates of the Constitution which provides, under Section 76, for the right to health care,” he said.