Middle level doctors at major public hospitals in Bulawayo, Friday embarked on industrial action, a situation that is likely to collapse the country’s health delivery system.
The placard waving doctors picketed outside the hospital, complaining of long working hours and poor working conditions.
Some of the doctors who spoke to CITE said they had been forced to join the junior doctors in downing their tools due to the overwhelming work.
“Over the past weeks work became too much for us and this means that we can no longer discharge our services expeditiously and to the best of our ability,” said one doctor who refused to be named.
“ The strike by juniors has forced us too endure long hours of work which is not fair because we are underpaid.”
Meanwhile, doctors at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) also staged their own demonstration at the hospital premises demanding that their salaries be paid in United States dollars.
Speaking to CITE Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association secretary general Mthabisi Bhebhe confirmed that the middle level doctors have downed tools to protest over long working hours, unpaid allowances and drug shortages.
“Most of our members have not received their salaries up to now hence the middle level doctors are entitled to join the strike,” said Bhebhe.
“This is a sensitive matter, we shall not stop fighting for a better living because hospitals remain empty with acute shortage of drugs.”
“If the issue of salaries and poor working conditions which is not addressed nurses will soon join the strike.”
However, patients have reacted with anger towards the strike by doctors citing that the industrial action by doctors has a negative impact on patients.
“My 10 months old son has a birth defect in his leg, so I came all the way from Plumtree to see the doctor who scheduled the appointment for today but I have been told he is not at work,” said Ntombiyelanga Moyo.
“I am disappointed because my son can die from this condition and on top of that I have wasted my money”.