Doctors and nurses will resume duties tomorrow after reaching an agreement with Government to report for work while their grievances are being addressed. Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji said Government reached an understanding with doctors and nurses’ representatives on Friday.
“They will be returning to work but the bonus meeting will be held on Monday. We reached an understanding in terms of on-call allowances which will be increased while night duty for nurses will also go up. Re-grading issues were resolved while 2 000 posts for nurses and 250 for doctors will be availed,” he said.
Dr Gwinji urged healthcare practitioners to put the lives of patients first.
“There are other issues such as vehicle purchase which take a little longer to put in place but we are saying let’s talk about those while offering services,” he said.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association secretary-general Mr Enoch Dongo said, “We did not agree but compromised because we are also human beings and we don’t want to lose lives.
‘‘We have agreed to go back to work on Monday (tomorrow) and we will be waiting for the outcome of the bonus meeting,” he said.
Nurses’ night duty allowances were increased from US$50 to US$65, although Mr Dongo said they wanted more.
“The US$15 increase is a mockery; it’s not a welcome development. However, people are dying and we are going back to work to save lives,” he said.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association president Dr Edgar Munatsi said they would “begrudgingly” report for duty.
“The ZHDA members will begrudgingly retreat, advise its members to resume duties as we strategically canvass for a fresh, nationwide strike … The ZHDA will not rest until the on-call allowances are revised upwards to a minimum of US$720 as agreed upon in 2014, the motor vehicle assistance programme is in motion and all doctors are rightfully graded and are assured of employment from university and Internship,” he said.
Doctors last month downed their tools demanding on-call allowances be increased from US$288 to US$720.
Nurses joined the strike a week later, demanding a review of night duty allowances. Some hospitals have been turning away patients following the strike, and military healthcare professionals immediately stepped in to try and avert unnecessary loss of lives.
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