Diana Nherera Herald Reporter
Junior doctors from the country’s Government hospitals have threatened to go on strike in a month’s time after their employer – the Health Services Board (HSB)- failed to review upwards their salaries and allowances.
The doctors also want the reinstatement of a facility that enables them to import cars duty-free.
In an interview yesterday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president, Dr Fortune Nyamande, said nine months had lapsed after they called off a strike, but Government had not honoured their demands.
Dr Nyamande said Government promised to look into five demands by doctors, but only addressed two.
“So far Government has reinstated the on-call and medical allowances, but it has not increased our salaries and housing allowance and has not reinstated the duty-free allowance for buying vehicles,” said Dr Nyamande.
He said most doctors did not own vehicles and relied on public transport to go to work.
Junior doctors went on strike in October last year demanding an upward review of their salaries and other working conditions.
They are still earning $282 a month and are demanding $1 200.
The doctors want Government to increase their housing allowance to $350 a month from the current $250.
In January this year, HSB reinstated allowances for health professionals, including junior doctors.
Dr Nyamande said ZHDA was consulting its members countrywide and was giving Government 30 days to fulfil their promises, failing which they would be forced to strike.
He said it was unfortunate that many doctors were leaving to work to in neighbouring countries.
“Government is not doing enough and it forgets that junior doctors are the ones manning Government hospitals most of the time.
“The University of Zimbabwe has recently hiked fees for doctors wishing to specialise from $800 per semester to $1 800 and there are fears that they might even go up to $2 500 the next semester.”