Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Normal services can be expected in State hospitals, as junior and consultant doctors continue to return to duty.
Since last week, junior and senior resident medical officers have been trickling in, signing resumption of duty forms as part of conditions for Higher Life Foundation incentives.
The foundation last week announced a $100 million support and training scheme for doctors.
By yesterday, most of the doctors, especially those from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, had returned to work.
A group of consultant doctors who had withdrawn their services have also resolved to offer emergency services, joining their colleagues who have always been attending to critical patients.
The senior doctors’ decision followed a meeting their representatives had with the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo on Wednesday during which the release of $40 million for drugs, equipment and sundries was announced.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Dr Moyo said Government was spending $20 million on medicines and another $20 million on equipment and surgical sundries.
“We have said to our senior doctors, we want them to come back to work so that they assist us in making orders for the equipment and drugs,” he said.
“The consultants and medium level doctors’ have, however, said they will start by offering emergency services, while the orders are being processed, but we are happy that junior doctors, particularly those from Parirenyatwa Hospital have returned to work.
“Chitungwiza Central Hospital has always been providing all the essential services, so have been Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospitals. Doctors at Harare Central Hospital are still trickling in and we want to encourage all of them to return to work.”
Dr Moyo said conditions of service which included salary adjustments will be negotiated while the doctors were at work.
He said Government will continue addressing some of the grievances presented by the doctors, which include issues of accommodation and transport.
Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) president Dr Shingai Nyaguse yesterday confirmed that her constituency had resolved not to withdraw labour completely.
“We met the minister on Wednesday and he made his promises, which we communicated to our membership this morning (Thursday),” she said.
“Following the meeting with our members, we are no longer on total withdrawal. We are seeing dire emergency cases.”
The junior doctors representative organisation, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), has noted junior doctors returning to work, but says it has not called off its job action.
ZHDA secretary-general Dr Tawanda Zvakada said doctors were still incapacitated.
“Some people have gone back to work, but ZHDA has not called off the job action,” he said. “The employer has not made any new offer and we are still incapacitated.”
Meanwhile, a new organisation for junior doctors, the Progressive Doctors Association of Zimbabwe (PDAZ), is expected to be launched in Harare today.
The association said its leadership and the way forward on doctors’ incapacitation will be announced during the launch.
“An interim committee will be officially announced at the launch and the PDAZ president is expected to deliver a speech that will be addressing a number of issues, particularly the doctors’ incapacitation and way forward,” said the organisation in a statement.
“Medical professionals from all over the country are all invited to this historic event where they will get a chance to hear first hand the offer that PDAZ is promising to broker for them in ending the ongoing impasse.”