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Chiwenga tightens screws on doctors

Doctors, most of them mulling leaving the country when lockdown restrictions are lifted, have been on successive job actions for better salaries in the last 12 months.

According to new requirements viewed as a manoeuvre to block a possible mass exodus, the doctors wanting to go outside the country will now be required to pay US$200 upfront for a clearance certificate signed by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe.

The same clearance cost $1 500, about US$20, at the beginning of the year.Most doctors earn about $9 000, which is equivalent to about US$110 using the auction rate.

The doctors will also be required to obtain a “Certificate of Good Standing” signed by three people.

First to sign will be the hospital clinical director, provincial medical director or medical superintendent, followed by the director of curative services in the Health ministry, before the application finally goes to the ministry’s permanent secretary for “approval”.

In the past, only a senior doctor with five years experience, provincial medical director or medical superintendent they practised with in the previous six months was supposed to sign.

Yesterday, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health minister, blocked top medicine students from accessing public hospitals as punishment for demanding better working conditions.

He also forced the UZ to immediately stop studies in three key programmes at the school of medicine to ensure that the doctors cannot proceed with their education as part of a cocktail of punitive measures.

More — NewsDay

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