Statement on Incapacitation of Doctors Nationwide

Today marks Day 34 since doctors nationwide declared incapacitation. This move was necessitated by the fact that doctors’ salary has lost buying power by a magnitude of 1500% against a salary increment offer of 60%. For too long, doctors have been subsidising the employer but they have used up all the savings they had and they have even borrowed and taken loans just to be able to report for duty consistently.

Given the amount of time that has lapsed thus far, it is quite clear and evident that the employer is not showing any remorse and does not intend to resolve this clear deadlock within a reasonable timeframe. We are calling upon the corporate world, and all other progressive members to come on board and help subsidise this huge deficit that doctors have for far too long subsidised.

On the 3rd of September 2019, doctors nationwide made it clear that they were not embarking on a strike, but that they had become incapacitated. The will and desire is there, but the means to execute their duties does not exist. In the past 34 days that doctors haven’t been reporting for duty, the employer and the employee met formally just twice. ZHDA representatives in attendance walked out of those meetings after ridiculous proposals of a meager 30% and 60% increments respectively on doctors oncall allowance. Representatives made it very clear that they were resoundingly declining that offer and didn’t even want to see it punched into their accounts despite the fact that other associations within the health sector had accepted the offer on health specific allowances out of desperation. This increment has already been eroded before it has been punched into the accounts, as evidenced by the cost of fuel increasing last night by 30% and ZESA tariffs which have now been reviewed at the prevailing interbank rate.

ZHDA members in attendance took the opportunity to bid farewell to the Health Apex Council. ZHDA exited the Health Apex Council (APEXIT) on Friday 4 October 2019. Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel (HSBNP) brings to the table the employer and all employees within the health sector in he same basket. ZHDA is amongst 20 associations which represent hospital clerks, hospital cleaners, nurse aids, nurses and other health workers. However, only a few associations meet under the Health Apex Council banner. As doctors, we encounter many different challenges which are peculiar to us due to the nature of our work, hence the need for creation of a new different negotiating platform altogether. Reasons being that the HSBNP does not seem to have the capacity to resolve the current ongoing impasse between doctors and the employer.

We note with sadness and deep concern the comments made by our Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr Obadiah Moyo, on the afternoon of 5 October 2019. Doctors countrywide are not enjoying this ongoing silent genocide and infringement on citizens’ constitutional right to health brought about by the negligence on behalf of the employer to address the employees grievances within a reasonable time frame. It is regrettable and so unfortunate that honourable ministers’ remarks does not capacitate even a single doctor, moreover all the doctors nationwide to report for duty on the proposed date and time in his communique.

We remain hopeful that a long lasting solution to this impasse will be found through serious and meaningful negotiations, not through press releases and media reports.

Please note that we will be launching our website this coming week for official communications and timely updates.

Monday Solidarity Meeting
Venue: Parirenyatwa Main Entrance @0900hrs
Members urged to dress in their professional attire
All members of the media are invited

Source: Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA)