Services at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) deteriorated further yesterday after specialist doctors joined the ongoing junior and intern doctors' strike.
A survey conducted by The Guardian revealed that only a few doctors and nurses were attending to patients at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH)’s Emergency Section contrary to statements released on Monday and yesterday by the MNH management, claiming that services at the national hospital have resumed.
The survey also established that there were very few patients going to the hospital for treatment.
Specialist doctors’ Representative Dr Catherine Mng’ong’o said in an interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam that none of her senior colleagues were attending to patients.
She said the government was yet to deploy doctors from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, as promised by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda in the Parliament last week.
“The MNH has only one specialist doctor for children… [Due to the strike] I am required to attend to children, to consult patients in wards, attend children at the theatre, clinic, undertake surgeries… I can’t perform all these activities alone. I need the support of interns,” noted Dr Mng’ong’o.
She elaborated that the hospital lacked important working equipment for a doctor to conduct an operation alone. “The government decision to let the interns go has created more tension and pressure on senior doctors,” explained Mng’ong’o.
“None of [specialist] doctors is working. They sign attendance register and leave…this is how thesituation can be described,” she said.
However, a press statement released by MNH public relations officer Aminiel Aligaesha said services at the hospital had normalised and that doctors had started attending to patients.
“Services at MNH continue stabilising although the number of patients has dropped due to the [ongoing] strike. In some departments, the level of services has also dropped,” it said.
Aligaesha acknowledged however that only a few doctors were providing services despite the fact that most of them had signed on the attendance register. He added that about eleven interns had reported and resumed duty.
For his part, MOI public relations officer Almas Jumaa admitted that there was a slowdown in service delivery and that only few doctors were attending to patients at the Emergency Section.
On Monday, Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) Secretary General Edwin Chitage was quoted as saying that a number of doctors had already submitted resignation letters and majority were planning to do the same to heed President Jakaya Kikwete’s call to stay or leave.
Meanwhile, Dar es Salaam Regional Committee for defense and security visited all referral hospitals based in the city – Mwananyamala, Amana and Temeke – to assess the situation.
According to its report released by Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Said Meck Sadiki, the situation had normalised, as doctors there were attending patients as usual with the exception of few interns.
In another development, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has directed all intern doctors, who were provided with letters to submit to the ministry’s Permanent Secretary’s Office to report on July 6, this year.