The principles of the Health Services Amendment Bill were discussed at today’s cabinet meeting and will continue at the next meeting.
The amendment seeks to transform the Health Services Board into a Commission and also seeks to designate health services an essential services which effectively bars health workers who include doctors and nurses and other hospital staff from engaging in strikes.
According to the cabinet briefing, any collective job action will have to be for a defined, reasonable time not an indefinite period.
“There will be defined periods of time where people can voice their concerns but not indefinitely; maybe a matter of hours carrying placards and making sure that your station is attended but not to go forever and allow patients to die,” Health Minister Obediah Moyo said.
“We really should make sure that while we should be allowing people to express themselves, they should express themselves in a correct, responsible manner realising at the end of the day we would be looking after patients.”
Zimbabwe government doctors went on strike today demanding a 400 percent hike in their salaries which effectively means that they want their salaries which used to be in United States dollars to be paid at the prevailing interbank rate.
The Zimbabwe dollar which was at par with the United States dollar until October last year is now trading at 11 to 1.
Doctors rejected a 60 percent salary hike by government saying they were no longer able to pay for transport to work.
“We don’t have money for transport, we don’t have money for food, we don’t have money to pay our kids schools fees, we don’t have rental and we can’t keep on subsidising the employer anymore,” the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Peter Magombeyi said today.