Zimbabwe doctors deserted wards of Zimbabwe`s most prominent hospitals. This happened after health workers went on strike for four months now. The hospital is one of the busiest in the country and houses around 1,800 beds. The health facility was abandoned by not only doctors but by nurses as well who left their stations. The medical practitioners staged the strike, demanding raises. They claimed that they needed the extra money to meet their daily expenses. The striking doctors also said that their monthly wages of 100 dollars a month were not sufficient enough to get by in Zimbabwe’s collapsing economy. Some physicians noted that this monthly income was barely enough for them to even buy groceries or get to work daily.
Zimbabwe doctors refuse work despite a court order
Since the start of the strike, 448 doctors got fired for violation of a court order ruling. The court’s decision stated that doctors should go back to work and wait for a solution. The other 150 employees still had a disciplinary hearing to attend. The Parirenyatwa hospital had been collapsing before the strike, though. The physicians striking just made the facilities conditions to worsen further since all activities were crippled. For months the health facility was facing shortages of some essential medical equipment. Gloves, syringes, and bandages were low in stock, and most hospital machines were faulty.
The Zimbabwe Government abandons its doctors
The Zimbabwe government said that it couldn’t support the increase in doctor’s salaries. The government told its doctors that a lot of more other civil servants from government organizations were demanding a pay increase as well. It also stated that already 80% of the country’s budget was going into paying wages, and no more funds could bee spared. The Zimbabwe government went on to say that it will make moves to recruit doctors from abroad if the situation does not subside. It continued further to state that specialists and doctors from Cuba, for instance, will be hired to work at the Parirenyatwa hospital.
Zimbabwe doctors end numerous lives
Numerous individuals have lost loved ones due to the strike. Employees still at work turned away sick individuals. Available employees wouldn’t offer any helpful assistance. With no physicians to attend to ill patients, the hospital’s morgue was quickly pilling up with bodies. One woman narrated how she lost her loved one during this strike period. She stated that her cousin admitted to Parirenyatwa hospital with kidney failure went through torture. However, with the strike going on, there was no doctor to attend to the sick patient, and she died.
“Saving lives should be the main priority, so many funerals are being recorded, and it is devastating,” she said.
The billionaire with a solution
A UK-based Zimbabwean telecoms billionaire, however, offered to help his country. Strive Masiyiwa offered to provide 100 million Zimbabwean dollars to assist in the payment of the doctors. A fellowship program run by his highlife foundation would facilitate the doctor’s payments. The money donated could be used to pay up to 2000 physicians who would end the strike. Each doctor would earn a little over 300 US dollars every month for six months. This fund could also help doctors meet their daily expenses of buying food and transportation to and from work. The Zimbabwe Hospital Association (ZHDA) confirmed in a statement made that they accepted Mr. Msiyiwa`s offer. Most doctors agreed to go back to work after approval of the deal. However, it is not clear what will happen after these six months elapse with a long term solution not found before then.