The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) has implored its members who had joined the nationwide industrial action that started yesterday to go back to work while their grievances are being looked into.

In a statement dated November 30, 2018 and signed by the doctors’ national committee, the junior doctors indicated their intention to engage in an industrial action as a result of what they termed “severe incapacitation and inability to withstand the current disabling working environment.”

The statement which was addressed to the Ministry of Health and Child Care also cited eroded salaries and shortages of fuel as the major reasons for the strike.

This Sunday some junior doctors deployed in central hospitals across the country did not report for duty, prompting clinical directors to send out memos indicating the closure of outpatients departments till further notice and the discharging of stable patients, among other measures to ease the workload on senior doctors.

An urgent meeting was thus convened this morning which was attended by some representatives from ZHDA, the Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obediah Moyo and representatives from the Health Services Board (HSB).

ZHDA Secretary General, Dr Patrick Mugoni argued that their salaries are almost worthless and that they are wasting productive time queuing for fuel.

Dr Moyo said the strike was illegal but acknowledged the concerns being raised by the doctors except the issue of paying salaries in US dollars which he completely ruled out.

After the meeting, the junior doctors’ representatives agreed to go back to work.

Minister Moyo said he will engage his Energy and Power Development counterpart to come up with a workable solution to the fuel issue, while the Ministry of Health and Child Care is immediately going to embark on a re-evaluation of a vehicle loan scheme to assist healthcare workers with transportation.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care was allocated $10 million for vehicles but only $4 million was disbursed.

Minister Moyo assured the health care workers that the government is committed to addressing challenges facing the health sector and modernising health facilities in the country.