Doctors play a very important role in our communities in ensuring that citizens are able to access their constitutional right to health care and their absence can result in loss of lives. For the past 40 days, doctors have been absent from work due to a nationwide strike where incapacitation has been cited as the main challenge. However, talks with the government in an attempt to resolve this issue have been unfruitful with the two parties failing to reach a stalemate. On the 11th of October 2019, the doctors’ strike was ruled as illegal by the Labour court and they were told to go back to work within 48 hours. However, despite the court order, doctors still maintain that they are unable to go back to work as they are financially incapacitated
Today, the 16th of October 2019, Women’s Institute for Leadership Development conducted a Radio program aimed at fostering an engagement between the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association and the public concerning the stay away and also to ascertain the impact of the strike on members of the public. Many of the sick people in hospital are adversely affected by the strike and there are cases of people losing their lives as there are no doctors to attend to them timely.
“The working conditions in our country are difficult because there is lack of resources. Drugs are very expensive and the only places they are found is in the private hospitals”, said Dr Mthabisi Bhebhe, a representative from the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA). “Some people say doctors are very selfish yet we go out of our way to help patients,” added Dr Mbanje, another representative from Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association.
“We understand the economic situation and the toll that it is taking on all citizens, but the doctors are not doing their job well. If they have the people at heart, they could do what they can to save people’s lives,” said Nokwethemba Sikosana a concerned resident from ward 14. “We have citizens dying on casualty waiting areas. Being a doctor is not just a profession but it is a call. It would be much better if they work hand in hand with the community to save lives. We recently witnessed two deaths at Mpilo hospital. One of the women who died was waiting for a doctor to attend to her at the casualty area,” said Thembelihle Sibanda, a woman from Ward 8, Bulawayo.
“We cannot blame the doctors or the community. The government is not fulfilling its constitutional obligations of ensuring adequate access to health care for all citizens, said a caller from Bulawayo. “Doctors are simply incapacitated. They do not have simple equipment like razor blades, or even gloves. The Ministry of health should attend to their grievances,” declared another caller.
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