Saturday, August 15, 2009

(NEWZIMBABWE) Ministers asks doctors to end strike

Ministers asks doctors to end strike
15/08/2009 00:00:00

STRIKING doctors who want their salaries increased more than fivefold should return to work while negotiations continue, Zimbabwe's health minister said Friday. But doctors said their stay-away would continue until they get more money.

The strike began last week in Bulawayo and later spread to the capital and other cities nationwide. State hospitals were turning away patients. At Harare's main Parirenyatwa Hospital on Friday, patients were lying on the floor of the admissions ward with no one to attend to them. Nurses said they could not work without instructions from doctors.

"We know that they want us to increase their salaries, but we are saying, "Let's come to an agreement, go back to work, whilst your issues are being considered," the Health Minister, Dr. Henry Madzorera, said Friday.

Zimbabwe's coalition has appealed to government workers to be patient as it struggles to reverse economic collapse. After it was formed in February, it began paying doctors, whose salaries in Zimbabwe dollars had become worthless because of runaway inflation, in U.S. dollars, starting at $100 a month and increasing that to $170 last month. The striking doctors want $1,000 a month and $600 allowances.

"We have been very patient with the inclusive government," said Dr. Brighton Chizhande, president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association. "We have come to a point where we cannot continue to listen to their lies that they are going to increase our salaries.

"We are very sorry for the patients' suffering, but there is nothing we can do to stop the strike, until we receive the money we are asking for." - AP

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