The country’s major hospitals have their critical departments such as casualty, maternity and theatre operating normally as junior doctors who were on strike since the 1st of December 2018, reported for duty.
A visit by the ZBC News to the hospitals showed that the outpatients departments at Mpilo, United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Chitungwiza were slowly normalising.
Mpilo Central Hospital Clinical Director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the reporting for duty by some junior doctors has relieved the workload, while calling on the negotiating parties to conclude their discussions in earnest for full and smooth operations to resume.
“Yes some doctors have since reported for work since yesterday. Critical areas have been stabilised and there are other areas that are running very well like the casualty department as we have put in place some contingent measures to make sure that we don’t lose lives unnecessarily. What we need is government and doctors to agree soon so that we re-open some critical areas,” he said.
The situation at UBH is similar to that of Mpilo though the institution’s CEO, Mrs Nonhlanhla Ndlovu could not give a comment to the ZBC News as she said she was out of office.
Meanwhile, some provincial hospitals have welcomed the resumption of duty by doctors at the country’s major referral centres as they had problems referring patients requiring specialist services.
“While the hospital did not experience the industrial action by junior doctors, our operations were badly affected by the industrial action as we could not refer patients requiring specialist services at Harare Central Hospital and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals,” Marondera Provincial Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr Cellestino Denge said.
When the ZBC News visited Marondera Provincial Hospital which is the referral centre for Mashonaland East Province, patients were being attended to in all wards by the medical staff.
The hospital has 11 doctors.
With the nation having gone through the impasse between the junior doctors and the Health Services Board (HSB), which was eventually ended by the bipartite forum on Saturday, words of praise have gone to the doctor who stayed on duty.
Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Ezra Chadzamira today toured Masvingo General Hospital to assess the doctor’s situation at the institution.
“While some doctors downed tools following the industrial action, others remained at work to attend to patients. At the moment, we have four doctors at work,” said Dr Amaedeus Shamhu, the Masvingo Provincial Medical Director.
Minister Chadzamira said; “We are grateful to Dr Shamhu and those doctors who remained at work during that difficult time. As government, we understand that your welfare should be looked into, while at the same time valuing the need to preserve life”.
Despite being short staffed, Gwanda Provincial Hospital is one health institution that remained operational throughout the festive season, even when other centres were being plagued by an industrial action.
Gwanda Hospital’s Acting Medical Superintendent, Dr Rutendo Manyathi attributed the normalcy at the institution to doctors’ dedication to duty.
“In as much as we have been short staffed for the whole of last year, we have managed to continue offering our services to our clients throughout the festive season that even when the strike was called we continued working,” she said.
The hospital serves as the referral centre for Matabeleland South Province but has only 5 doctors out of an establishment need of 15.