Police forces are reportedly blocking roads near the Paritenyatwa Hospital in Harare as of Wednesday, September 18, to prevent a doctors' protest from proceeding. Protesters gathered to denounce the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) leader's disappearance on Saturday, September 14.
Disruptions to medical services were reported at several public health institutions across the country amid an ongoing doctors' strike. Government officials announced the deployment of medical professionals from the uniformed forces to help tackle the disruptions and insure assistance to patients with critical conditions.As of Wednesday, it is unclear if the strike is indefinite, but it is possible that the doctors will not return to their posts until their leader is released.
Additional related protests are likely in the coming days, amid a heightened security presence. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
According to the protesters, Peter Magombeyi, president of the ZHDA, was abducted by security forces in an attempt to break the doctor's strike he called, ongoing since early September, to denounce their inability to provide adequate services because of low salaries, a lack of basic health material in state hospitals, and increasing living costs. Doctors held protests in Harare on September 15, 16 to demand his release.
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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