Doctors in public hospitals have entered the second-day of a go-slow to press the government to work on their longstanding demands which include improved working conditions.
Services have deteriorated at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Bugando and Mbeya referral hospitals where the doctors were on go-slow.
A survey conducted by The Guardian yesterday revealed that services were also paralysed at Temeke and Amana regional hospitals in Dar es Salaam region.
In almost all the hospitals doctors were only attending to patients at the emergency sections, but they said these services faced imminent shutdown today.
Speaking to reporters, the Chairman of Doctor’s Committee Dr Stephan Ulimboka said the effects of their action would be felt today when the emergency sections are closed.
“We will not give up. We are on strike though some people think that poor services were caused by low attendance of doctors during the weekend,” he said.
Dr Ulimboka said the strike is mostly fueled by the government due to failure to work on their recommendations as it pledged.
One of the doctors who preferred anonymity said the doctors were not working, stressing that those present at the hospitals were attending to patients at the emergency section.
“They might tell the public that were not striking, but I can assure you that no one of us is working,” he said.
Right now I am at home relaxing with my family. Politically at MNH they will tell you we’re not on strike but, I can tell you that no one of us is on duty,” he said.
Interviewed patients at the MNH said the situation changed on Saturday as doctors stopped attending to them, contrary to Friday when services were fully offered.
“There was a single doctor attending to us yesterday, though services were not as good as we used to get,” said Anna who is nursing her little boy suffering from heart disease.
Reports from Mbeya Referral hospital said already relatives have started taking away their patients to private hospitals following doctors’ strike announced over the weekend.
Early this year, doctors went on strike demanding among other things for the government to improve their working conditions, salary and allowance increment.
They also declared that the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Haji Mponda and his deputy, Dr Lucy Nkya were their biggest enemies.
A few days after, doctors in public hospitals agreed to call off the strike and go back to work, saying they have taken the decision to give President Kikwete time to solve their problems.
Addressing Dar es Salaam elders in mid March this year, President Jakaya Kikwete told doctors in the country that their recent strike should be the last, calling for formalisation of a system to govern the running of the health sector to minimise disputes.
He said the main lesson learnt from the strike was the lack of trust between the two sides and therefore the need for laws and regulations which will be applied by any leader who took charge of the ministry.