The junior doctors who had withdrawn their services have agreed in principle to return to work after holding a meeting with the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa this morning.
The junior doctors who were represented by the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) executive said they requested for the meeting so that they present their case to the First Lady.
Amai Mnangagwa thanked the doctors for agreeing to call off the strike and promised that she was going to transmit their grievances to the principals.
34 days have gone since the junior doctors went on strike and the impasse appeared unbreakable, until today, with meeting after meeting seemingly failing to yield a lasting agreement.
In search of possible recourse to the one person perceived as sympathetic, a mother, the ZHDA national executive comprising the president Dr Elias Muzoremba, a national executive committee member Dr Allan Dimingo who was representing Dr Anele Bhebhe- the secretary general, Dr Paul Butau – the treasurer and Dr Tapiwa Kusotera had to seek the audience of the First Lady to presented their case at her offices at State House today hoping to appeal on her motherly instinct.
Emerging from the closed meeting, Amai Mnangagwa said she is pleased the doctors have listened to a mother’s plea and have agreed to go back to work, while their grievances are being looked into.
“These children said they want to meet with amai to air out their grievances and the hurdles they are facing day-to-day. They said they have been given bad names out there. I am sure some of their requirements will be met in no time while some might take time but I am happy they said they are now going back to work. We agreed that we should work for the Zimbabwe that we want. These children are very positive and I have paid tribute to them that they have come to me as a mother. In any set up all children run to their mothers if problems arise, if the tough gets going mothers are there to quell the situation. So these children came to me with their grievances which I am going to take to the President and see how best they can be resolved. For now um sure some of the requirements which will enable them to go to work like transport and other essentials will be met while some will be met in due course since the government is still working on revamping the economy. I would like to thank these junior doctors now that they said they are going back to work,” said the First Lady.
Dr Muzoremba opened up and revealed the doctors felt their grievances were not being conveyed correctly to the higher offices and hence their request to meet with Amai.
He committed to go and engage his fellow doctors to brief them on what they have agreed with the First Lady.
“We want to thank Amai Mnangagwa for her time and the meeting we had with her concerning our grievances. She was supposed to be in Bulawayo but she has sacrificed her time to meet with us and hear us out. She promised to take our issues further up and further encouraged us to return to work while our concerns are being looked into. We pleaded with Amai that at least if authorities that be could meet some of our requirements which will enable us to carry out our duties smoothly urgently the better while some will be addressed in due course. As a matter of fact we are going to meet other doctors at Parirenyatwa and give them the position arrived at now,” he said.
The extended length of the industrial action by junior doctors was having a toll in the country’s public hospitals and the most affected were the patients.