This time tomorrow, the wards and corridors of hospitals across Zimbabwe will be a lot quieter than usual. Patients will still be there in droves, but the bulk of the staff who normally minister to their needs – that is, junior doctors – will be absent.
The majority of them will be participating in the strike. All-out means no care whatsoever from juniors: no regular appointments, no operations, no emergency care – even for pregnant women, children and babies. This dispute between doctors and the Health Ministry began as a friendly debate. It’s certainly not friendly any more.
The doctors are simply saying may our work stations be workable. May we be given protective clothes to enable us to carry out our duties. Being a medical doctor is more than a profession. A soldier who goes to war without support or fully equipped is a danger to his colleagues.
So a medical doctor who operates from a none equipped work station is surely a danger to his patience and surely an embarrassment to his profession. His practice is impaired by the fact that he thrusts his patients in danger and it is utter negligence.
We barely remember any talk – among doctors at least – of working hours and patient safety at this point. Nevertheless, the nation is on their side. How dare the Government fires them for asking for better working conditions.
Doctors are not obsessed with financial uplift they are saying help us to execute our duties.
While it is very true that there is a good reason for the industrial action it appears that , this sounded like a political campaign – weaponising the Ministry of health to target the governing party’s perceived weaknesses. It seemed an illegitimate campaign for a respectable doctors to be running. But the reality is this strike knocks for nothing but common sense which is not that common.
In a world where many of our patients are on zero-hours contracts, and are forced to do work they do not enjoy, doctors should not be putting lives at risk by turning their backs on something they love, and removing the safety net for the most vulnerable in society.
They should certainly not be striking over propaganda.
Doctors’s ought also to consider that it is not acceptable for a union to campaign in a way that attempts to destabilise a democratically elected government, which has a mandate to do what it is doing.
We may be one profession, but we certainly do not stand together when it comes to staging a full walk-out that could cost patients their lives. Junior doctors must think again.
When there are two less thinking powers the country is certainly headed for disaster. That is to say when the government refuse to think and the doctors refuse to think then it the patient who suffers the most.
The problem we are having now is that the government is quick to politicise every genuine protest while the opposition is quick to align itself with any protest. This then creates mistrust between the government and the doctors.
It does not kill to take our leaders to some sort of public relations training. To be powerful is not always shown by wielding the power where its not necessary. Firing who ever complaints is a sure sign of dictatorship. It worsens the relations.
Our health system is now a death trap. Our doctors are surely within their right to demand a better working station.