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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Doctors consult lawyer on strike ban

10th March 2012

Doctors were yesterday in closed door consultation with their lawyer over the Thursday night High Court ruling declaring their strike illegal and directing them to resume work.

In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, one of the MAT leaders who preferred anonymity confirmed to have received the High Court order on Thursday. He said despite the order, doctors could not go back to work as they are waiting for an advice from their lawyer.

“We have taken the matter to our lawyer…we are waiting for his advice on whether to go back to work or not”, he noted.

Most of the public hospitals were not attending to patients as doctors just reported to sign the attendance register.

The situation was the same in other regions with reports saying there were hardly any doctors to attend to patients at Mbeya, Bombo and Iringa referral hospitals.

Only five out of 75 doctors in Mbeya region had gone back to work by yesterday.

Acting Mbeya Regional Medical Officer Dr Omary Salehe said yesterday that most of the doctors had not reported for duty for three days.

He said services at the referral hospital were below standard, warning if the strike continues the situation will get worse.

“Only five doctors reported for work today. We are still waiting for others,” he noted.

Doctors gathered in small groups outside the hospital, discussing issues related to the strike.

Doctors who talked to The Guardian under the condition of anonymity said they are waiting for MAT statement which was expected to be released yesterday afternoon.

Reports from Moshi say the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) in the northern zone has suspended services at public hospitals.

Addressing the media yesterday, MAT northern zone secretary, Dr Lairumbe Silangei said they have decided to join others, though they will be reporting at their stations only to sign the attendance register.

“We have officially resumed the strike. There is no a single doctor who will attend to patients until we receive further instructions from headquarters in Dar es Salaam,” he noted.

He said there were some doctors who according to their religious beliefs could not go on strike. He said foreign doctors are also providing services.

He stressed that doctors are not happy with the current situation which affected patients, but they needed to make sure that the government responded to their demands.

“We are now on strike…we are trying to convince others who were not present during our two days meeting to join the strike”, he said.

Some of the doctors who were on duty decided to leave the wards immediately after the MAT announcement. Services in some of the wards were offered by trainee doctors from the KCMC medical college.

In Iringa services at all public hospitals were poor. Since the doctors’ countrywide strike resumed early this week doctors and health workers at the regional hospital only sign the attendance register but do not attend to patients.

The go-slow was also observed in other government owned hospitals such as Kibena, Makambako health centre, Mafinga and Kilolo district hospitals located at Ilula.

The situation was the same at Bombo referral hospital in Tanga with people being forced to go to private hospitals.

A survey by this paper revealed that the go-slow has also affected public health centres at Ngamiani and Makorora where services were suspended.

One of the patients, Salehe Abdurahman said some of them have opted for medical treatment at private hospitals while those with less money have opted for traditional medical cure.

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