The five-member committee of medical specialists, whose decision to meet Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda on ways to end the strike by doctors was endorsed by the Muhimbili National Hospital management on Wednesday, yesterday joined hands with interns in working on the matter.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda

The specialists have also recommended that it would be in the nation’s interest for the government to move fast in dealing conclusively with the raging controversy over doctors’ salaries, allowances and other benefits, and therefore forestall a worse scenario.

They were particularly concerned about the safety of the medical equipment and facilities at the country’s biggest referral hospital, some of which are now in the hands of Army doctors deployed by the government in place of the doctors on strike.

Briefing reporters in Dar es Salaam, Interns’ Committee Chairperson Dr Steven Ulimboka said the decision for the interns and the specialists to move together was reached at a joint meeting convened purposely to discuss the best ways of resolving the stand-off between the government and the striking health personnel.

“We have agreed to have a single committee with full mandate to meet the relevant government officials in connection with our plight. The committee will stand for all doctors in the country,” he noted, expressing hope that “our unity will make the government better understand the weight of our demands because both interns and specialist doctors are facing much the same problems as most other cadres of health workers”.

Contacted for comment on the specialist doctors’ suggestions that the hospital’s equipment and facilities now in the hands of doctors deployed from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces were not very safe, MNH Executive Director Dr Marina Njelekela directed this paper to Senior Public Relations Officer Aminiel Eligaesha, who was apparently in a meeting and therefore not in a position to speak to journalists.

Similarly, Health and Social Welfare minister Dr Hadji Mponda would not comment on the matter and instead said the Ministry’s PRO, Nsachris Mwamwaja, would be better placed to do so.

The joint committee lined itself up to have an audience with the prime minister as the situation at MNH continued to worsen, with only a handful of patients still admitted and waiting for medical attention.

Dr Silanda Optatus, manager of the hospital’s Emergency Department told this paper that they have been performing well below capacity for more than a week.

He said they normally attend to between 85 and 100 patients per day but as of yesterday afternoon only 25 were received, adding though that patients still lying in wards are attended to by specialist doctors and doctors dispatched from TPDF.

Meanwhile, the Council of Traditional Medicine Researchers and the Tanzania Professionals Network yesterday made impassioned appeals to striking doctors to resume work. They said the doctors would be well advised to understand that, however genuine their demands, the strike hurt ordinary Tanzanians most.

Sikika, a local NGO, expressed “surprise” that the national Assembly had yet to address the doctors’ strike when fully aware of the massive impact it had on the people.

The NGO’s Executive Director, Irenei Kiria, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that it would be neither right nor proper for Members of Parliament not to debate the matter in the current meeting of the House regardless of the number of MPs who would stand against the idea.

Source The Guardian

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