Bridget Mananavire 8 March 2017
HARARE – Government has imposed three more months of internship for junior
doctors who were on strike for the past three weeks.
In a March 6, 2017 letter to all hospital chief executives, Health
ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji said all doctors who were away for 14
days-plus will have to do three more months of internship before they
qualify to be moved to a district hospital for their final year of
This is despite an agreement not to take disciplinary action against the
doctors that was signed by the Health Bipartite Negotiating Panel.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president Edgar Munatsi
yesterday declined to comment on the government’s latest shock move.
In the letter, copied to Health minister David Parirenyatwa, his deputy
Aldrin Musiiwa, Health Services Board (HSB) chair Lovemore Mbengeranwa and
others, Gwinji claimed the internship extension was in line with training
rules and regulations.
“Junior doctors who were away from training for a period of 14 days and
above will be required to repeat the rotations for three months with
effect from March 6 to end May 2017,” he said.
“This is in compliance with the rules and regulations of training as
issued by the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS)
and the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ).”
Rotations are when doctors get to work in different medical speciality
areas on a rotational basis.
The doctors were supposed to have finished their internship on February 28
and then move to district hospitals for a year or remain at central
hospitals for two months before they get open practice certificates.
Doctors have been demanding that government release open practice
certificates after completion of internship, as it could not accommodate
the doctors for further training at the country’s health institutions.
Government then offered 250 posts for the doctors, which remain
inadequate, according to the doctor’s association.
Junior doctors went on strike on February 15 and they have since resumed
work with effect from March 6 following agreement reached at the Health
Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel on March 3.
“Communication on issues agreed on will be shared once the relevant
authorities have been received from the board and Treasury,” Gwinji said.
“One of the agreements was that the members who withdrew their labour will
forfeit vacation leave days in lieu of days not worked by the principle of
no-work no-pay. All health workers are expected to clock-in for an audit
trail in the payment of health worker retention allowance.”
Gwinji said that doctors who qualified with a bachelor’s degree in
Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) in 2017 would be deployed to commence
internship with effect from April 1, 2017.