Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
SOME doctors reported for duty at Mpilo Central Hospital yesterday following the presidential moratorium which allows them to return to work without reapplying after they were sacked recently for engaging in an illegal strike.
Doctors have been absent from duty since September 3 this year saying they were incapacitated as their salaries had been eroded by inflation.
In a meeting with President Mnangagwa last week, Catholic bishops won doctors the 48-hour moratorium to return to work without re-applying and without questions being asked.
Higher Life Foundation (HLF) also offered 2 000 doctors training fellowships of up to $5 000 on condition that they are at work.
Dr Solwayo Ngwenya, Mpilo clinical director confirmed that a handful of doctors had reported for duty.
“This morning a few doctors took advantage of the presidential moratorium to report for duty, joining others who reported for duty on Friday. Hopes were raised that the strike would end soon,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He said they had expected more to come but that ended up not being the case as they later learnt that doctors met yesterday afternoon and decided that they must not take up the Government and HLF offers.
According to Dr Ngwenya, Mpilo officials have been working hard with the majority of the staff that have been reporting for duty.
“We will continue and keep the hospital open for emergency services especially for mothers in labour. I will like to thank those that heeded the call to come back as they will help save lives and also complete their training.”
United Bulawayo Hospitals chief executive officer Mrs Nonhlanhla Ndlovu had, by the time of going to press, not responded to questions sent to her.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) said all doctors have since resolved not to apply for the HLF offer with immediate effect.
“Following the solidarity meeting we had today, it was agreed that we should stop applying because Higher Life Foundation is trying to arm twist us into accepting their offer.
“We have received information that members are now being forced to sign assumption of duty,” read the statement from ZHDA.
“This is now forcing our members back to work and the government is asking for a list of those who applied which shows their finger is in this HLF plan.
“We are advising our members to withhold the HLF application processes with immediate effect.”
According to ZHDA, doctors will “patiently” wait until there is a reasonable offer from the Government. [email protected]