Doctors’ strike: 60,000 dead(01-02-07)

BY ITAI DZAMARA
HARARE - There have been over 60 000 deaths in the country's health institutions-most of which could have been prevented - during the six-week doctors' strike The Zimbabwean has learnt.
Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has described it as a humanitarian disaster created by

President Robert Mugabe and his government.
Doctors have been protesting against poor salaries, which were as low as Z$56 000 when the Poverty Datum Line is close to $400 000 per month, since late last year. Information obtained this week shows that whilst government took its usual arrogant stance and procrastinated, most of the deaths recorded during the period could have been prevented had there been doctors to attend to the patients.
Senior medical practitioners told this paper that surveys just completed show that some 60 000 deaths have been recorded at the country’s major hospitals since the strike began. This was confirmed by sources in the ministry of health.
“The death toll has reached 60 000, and the most unfortunate thing is that most of these people’s lives could have been prevented with doctors attending to the patients,” a member of the Zimbabwe Medical Association said.
“But as doctors we say how can we continue with this stupid Zanu (PF) way of rewarding chiefs whilst we earn peanuts. Besides, we can’t expect much in a situation of acute shortages of drugs at the hospitals, all for which this arrogant government seems not to care.”

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