Zimbabwean doctors remain on strike throughout the country as of Thursday, December 27, despite a recent court ruling that declared the work stoppage illegal. The government suspended 550 striking doctors on Tuesday, December 25, for 14 days, prompting the remaining doctors on call to also join in the industrial action. Local media sources reported significant disruptions to health care services in the capital of Harare on Wednesday, December 26. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) also released a statement on December 25 contradicting government claims that hospitals are stocked with essential drugs and necessary equipment. ZHDA officials said that current stocks will only last up to two months, and the government has failed to provide timelines when further drugs will be delivered. It is unclear when the doctors will return to work and disruptions to medical services are expected to continue for the duration of the strike.
The ZHDA launched the strike on December 1, claiming that low salaries, a lack of basic health material in state hospitals, and increasing fuel costs have severely hindered their ability to provide adequate services. Junior doctors and nurses went on strike in early 2018 over similar concerns, causing significant disruptions to medical services across the country.
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.
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