Open letter to doctors

Dear doctors,

I fully understand the root cause of the strike you have embarked on.

It is a result of long overdue unfulfilled promises of an increment in allowances and vehicle duty waiver.

I believe you when you say you cannot do your jobs proprely without the proper equipment and medicines. And I feel your pain at having to work such long hours.

But the fundamental question remains: should the ill suffer?

I understand for years Government has failed to address your issues, but take time to ask yourselves: who are the people who seek services in Government hospitals?

It is mostly low-income earners who cannot afford to seek services in private medical institutions.

By going on strike, you are not punishing Dr David Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Care Minister).

The casualties for your actions are the voiceless.

Think of the elderly woman with a fractured leg who was referred to your hospital from the rural areas two weeks ago and has not been attended to.

Think of the small child in excruciating pain from burns sustained after an accident at home.

Think of the hard working father who has multiple fractures and internal injuries after a car crash.

Do you hear the prayers they cry out every minute of their pain? Do you see the way they expectantly look to the ward entrance in the hope that the footsteps in the corridor mean a doctor is coming?

To them, you are their only hope.

Today marks 25 days since you downed tools. Major hospitals have shut down casualty departments.

Yes, your salaries are low compared to what your peers get in other countries. But so are the salaries of just about every other worker in Zimbabwe.

And as doctors, you stand on a higher moral pedestal than most of the rest of us. The Hippocratic Oath you took places you there.

Surely there are other ways of getting your message across without letting the poor suffer. Give the new administration a chance to improve working conditions, not just for doctors, but for all Zimbabweans.

Shamiso Yikoniko

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