Friday, April 12, 2024

Zimbabwe sacks hundreds of doctors over strike action

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Zimbabwe has sacked over 200 out of the 1,601 of doctors who work in public health institutions.

A third of its workforce of doctors who provide health care in public hospitals are currently facing the sack.

The decision to sack these doctors is based on their refusal to call off their strike and return to work.

Doctors have been on strike for months now demanding better working conditions.

But the government continues to hold disciplinary hearings for the doctors who defied a Labour Court ruling to return to work.

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So far the Health Services Board (HSB) has sent letters with the charges to 279 of 516 and has conducted hearings for 213.

Of these, 210 were found guilty in absentia of absenting themselves from work without leave or reasonable cause. They have since been discharged from the health service.

In 1996, the Zimbabwean government sacked doctors and nurses for participating in an illegal industrial action.

President’s unhappiness

Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa had alleged weeks ago that external forces were behind the industrial action by the doctors.

Last month Mnangagwa said the government was aware that some doctors were working with external forces to destabilise the health sector.

“Two months ago, we raised their salaries and they came back again saying the value of the money had been eroded and we offered them a 30 percent increase which they rejected and we increased it to 60 percent which they rejected again,” he said.

This week nurses at all council clinics in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare also abandoned work compounding the health crisis in the country.


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