The recent offer by telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa’s Higherlife Foundation has left medical doctors divided, with some choosing to go back to work while others continue to dig in, waiting for clarity from government, Zim Morning Post has learnt.
A doctor at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals who spoke to Zim Morning Post this week, on condition of anonymity said since the offer was tabled, about 386 doctors had since returned to work, with the rest choosing to continue with the strike action.
“Only 386 doctors have since returned to work, but they are just junior doctors who are not doing any work since senior doctors and the consultancy are still on strike,” said the junior doctor.
The highly placed source further said junior doctors have no capacity to work in the absence of consultancy services, adequate and relevant equipment, including drugs.
Another doctor who is yet to return to work said he had chosen to stay at home and continue the strike because Masiyiwa’s offer was not transparent to warrant their return.
“The contract was supposed to be between the government and us.
“if Higherlife wanted to come in and assist, then the employer should have endorsed it.
“So far, there has been nothing like that,” he said.
The junior doctor questioned the logic behind entering into a contract with Masiyiwa’s Higherlife whereas government was their employer.
“How can we be in a contract with Higherlife yet we are employed by government?
“It just doesn’t sound right from the onset,” he said.
The contract between the striking doctors and Higherlife Foundation has a six-month lifespan, bringing to question what would happen after that.
“All we want is something sustainable; something that we can rely on,” the doctor added.
A member of the Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA) said government had recently gone silent on the issue, with probably very few among the medical fraternity knowing if government still considered them as their employees.
“We are still open for dialogue. We have also told government of its obligation to pay us our monthly salaries told them our at the going interbank rate because every transaction is now as per the prevailing interbank rate,” said the ZHDA member.
The strike action by junior and middle level doctors began more than three months ago, and senior doctors have since joined in.
As a consequence of the strike action, medical students from University of Zimbabwe failed to write their examinations in November after it was discovered they had not learnt anything at the different hospitals where they are on attachment across the country.