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Doctors defy threat, vow to stay aloof

by BustopTV

By Lerato Ndlovu

Despite the directive from the Health Service Board (HSB) that ordered the firing of over 77 doctors, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) says its members remained unmoved and shall not report for duties until their demands are fully met.

ZHDA on Tuesday described the decision by HSB to expel about 77 doctors as suicidal, a direct confrontation to the doctoring profession and a disadvantage to the citizens who get services from State-run hospitals.

“HSB has succeeded in shooting themselves on the foot! We reiterate that ZHDA and its entire membership will not be intimidated or deterred in asking for a livable wage and in doing so we maintain that we have not committed any crime by being broke,” ZHDA said in a statement.

Dr. Tawanda Zvakada, ZHDA Secretary General told journalists during a press statement held at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals that the health professionals were unsurprised with the decision, which he said was taken earlier but was rather not formalized.

“This move does not shock us in any way because we have been anticipating it. We are waiting for them to come back to their senses and start meaningful negotiations and give us an offer which is reasonable,” Zvakada said.

Appalled and disgruntled by the decision to relieve their workmates off their duties, ZHDA Spokesperson Dr. Tapiwa Mungofa said at the same event that the move has come without a solution, warning that it is the ordinary citizens who will bear the brunt.

“It is a move that comes without solutions, we are shocked and we are still shocked. We want to hereby denounce the decision by HSB and we encourage them to come back to their senses and realize that it is these doctors that the ordinary citizen is relying on, especially those who rely on government institutions.

Mungofa said what transpired was a sign of policy contradiction bedeviling HSB when the board initially called for engagement and dialogue to resolve the dispute before overturning it just a day later.

“HSB is ungovernable and characterized by what we feel is an internalized policy contradiction. One day they came out saying they are engaging doctors in dialogue and the next day firing them without dialogue.

“We feel this is a career heist to the doctors and a daylight robbery to the citizens of the constitutionally mandated right to health and we hereby urge the citizens to call for the promised health care,” Mungofa said.

The Spokesman said ZHDA did not receive an official communication from the employer to commence negotiation adding that it’s the association that has been pushing for a negotiation.

“We have not received any communication from the employer so far in trying to negotiate with us instead we have been the ones pushing for the negotiation.

 “But again, we are in this situation. We want to clearly state that we are not moved and as the SG stated we were not fired yesterday but we were fired early on this year when our salaries were degraded to nothing hence they just formalized it yesterday,” he said.

This is not the first time the government has threatened disgruntled doctors by expulsion. Vice President Constatino Chiwenga earlier this year sparked outrage after firing 400 doctors who were demanding improvement in working conditions.

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