Addressed to President Jakaya Kikwete, the demands include the sacking of Health and Social Welfare Minister Dr Hadji Mponda and his deputy, Dr Lucy Nkya. This latest threat, to say the least, is absurd much as it is unacceptable, considering the fact that it has been made even before all concerned parties sat together to discuss the doctors’ grievances and requests as initially agreed.
Public opinion has always been against such strikes or go-slow, most especially when it is planned by the very people entrusted with taking care of people’s health – and lives. Such sentiments had also been echoed by religious leaders and some upright medics. It is a fact that after the recent strike by medical staff that the government took a number of measures to rectify the situation that included showing some of the ministry’s top officials the way – out; and raising some allowances.
The threat to strike this time, even before all concerned parties sat together, shows that there is some kind of a ‘dirty game’ being played, which is not good considering the fact that it is people’s lives that are at stake here. They should see reason, also considering another fact that the recent strike caused a lot of harm to patients, some of them seriously sick, at the public hospitals in Dar es Salaam, most notably the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) where services came to a complete standstill.
It is an act that should not be allowed to happen. Of course there appeared to be a misconception that the handling of the previous strike was not very good though in all fairness, the government did its best to address the doctors’ grievances, including the suspension of some top ministry’s officials. Strikes are illegal and nobody is exempted.
It is better to remain with a few committed and devoted individuals at our hospitals than to have such people who are hell bent on advancing their ‘power-show’. The doctors need to be clear on what they really want. Strikes or strike threats won’t solve any problem other than causing unnecessary panic and harm to innocent people.