Representatives of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) confirmed on Tuesday, January 7, that junior doctors have resumed duties after striking for over 100 days. The junior doctors agreed to resume their duties after a deal was brokered with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration by Catholic bishops. Under the agreement, the striking doctors were allowed to return to work without being questioned during a 48-hour period. However, senior doctors who also joined the industrial action in November 2019 have refused to resume their duties until their demands are met. According to the secretary general of the Senior Hospitals Doctors Association (SHDA), salaries are being withheld from medical specialists and only consultants hired by the University of Zimbabwe are being paid.
Disruptions to hospital and medical services are possible at public hospitals while the senior doctors remain on strike. According to local media reports, some hospitals were forced to turn away patients in recent weeks due to operating below capacity. Demonstrations by the striking doctors may also take place in the coming days and weeks.
The striking doctors and medical professionals are demanding a salary increase, ending the flexi hour system for nurses, and for additional medical equipment to be purchased for hospitals. SHDA leaders claim that the government has refused to address their grievances until the doctors return to work.
Individuals present in Zimbabwe, including in Harare, are advised to confirm doctor's appointments, to anticipate longer waiting times in medical facilities for the duration of the strike, and to avoid any potential protests.