The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe has urged the government to address the grievances of striking state doctors, saying their month-long action is hurting poor patients. "The strike has caused untold human suffering and loss of life to many," the commission said. "The doctors have a right to strike if the employer is insensitive to their needs, which are not out of this world. The longer the dispute is not resolved, the more the ordinary people will suffer." Junior doctors at Zimbabwe's four main state hospitals began their work boycott nearly four weeks ago when they limited the number of patients they treated. The action soon escalated into an all-out strike. The doctors are demanding that their salaries be raised from the current Z$56 000 to Z$5-million. With inflation in Zimbabwe running at over 1,000 per cent the current doctors' salaries barely cover the cost of food. The doctors ignored calls from Health Minister David Parirenyatwa to end their strike after being offered an undisclosed salary package by the government. Patients are bearing the brunt of the crisis as nurses, state health consultants and remaining doctors battle to attend to overwhelming numbers. Last week, the Health Ministry called on army medics to step in and augment skeleton staff numbers at some hospitals. Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe economic recession characterised by four-digit inflation, massive unemployment, and chronic shortages of drugs in state hospitals and basic foodstuffs. Source: The Star/ZW News
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