Senior doctors at Zimbabwe’s public hospitals have gone on strike to protest the dismissal of junior colleagues who have boycotted work for nearly three months, deepening a crisis in the country’s health sector.
Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade that has seen resurgent inflation soaring to three-digit levels, eroding salaries and savings and re-igniting memories of the hyperinflation era of a decade ago.
Senior doctors continued to provide emergency services after their junior colleagues stopped working on September 3 to demand higher pay. So far, at least, 448 junior doctors have been fired and many more are awaiting disciplinary hearings.
The strike by junior and middle-level doctors has paralyzed state hospitals used by Zimbabwe’s poor majority. Prior to the strike, hospitals in the country had been struggling with a shortage of drugs and doctors, with many having gone abroad to seek better opportunities.
Critics say President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to keep promises he made in last year’s election campaign to revive the economy by pushing through reforms, attracting foreign investment and rebuilding collapsing infrastructure.
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