MNH ‘sees’ end of docs’ strike

An empty MNH ward
Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) expressed its optimism on Monday that services at the country's largest referral hospital would start normalizing on Tuesday after striking doctors resumed their duties.

However, while the hospital's statement released last evening painted a positive picture of the situation, the 'Daily News' was informed that the specialists who were initially not part of the strike, had also decided to join the fray.

"Services at the hospital have started normalizing," wrote the hospital's Senior Public Relations officer, Aminiel Aligaesha in the statement, which noted that the hospital had reviewed the situation from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Monday.

According to Mr Aligaesha, specialists and registrars continued with their duties as usual, noting that at the medical department some 19 specialists out of 21 had reported to work and all the 12 registrars had attended too.

He also stated that all clinical services were conducted as usual whereas 14 specialists out of 16 attended at the children department and three out of six registrars attended.

The statement further noted that at the psychiatric and mental health department, nine out of ten specialists attended whereas at the emergency medicine department all ten registrars reported. It noted that the absentees were either on annual or study leaves.

Earlier at MNH, our reporter saw doctors busy moving up and down. But they did not report to office and were instead holding several meetings to discuss the president's speech and the board of trustee's order.

The meetings ended up with a declaration which this time around brought together interns and specialists in a consensus that they should all have solidarity on the strike.

"We have analyzed the situation and found it necessary to join interns in this strike, we are not worried of being sacked," said a representative of specialists, Dr Catherine Mng'ong'o.

Dr Mng'ong'o noted that specialists could not work alone without interns' support and that their presence was useless if interns would not return to work.

The deputy chairman of the doctors community, Dr Godbless Charles insisted on the strike, adding that the court's order does not apply to all doctors.

"This order is directed to Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) members, an association of which some of us are not members," he said.However, the MAT President, Dr Namala Mkopi said that his association was not in any case involved in the strike.

"MAT has never announced any strike. We are not part of this and I think the court's order was misplaced when it was directed to us," he said.Sources had it that only five per cent of all doctors in the country are members of MAT, making the association powerless in influencing any move by doctors.

Meanwhile, the Head of Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Benson Bana, noted that continuation of the strike by the doctors even after President Jakaya Kikwete explained efforts by the government to meet their demands, was an indication of a hidden agenda.

"The president's speech shows that the government has created a win win situation in this saga and if the doctors have insisted on the move, they must have a hidden agenda," he said.

Ms Mariam Kigunda, a resident of Dar es Salaam said that doctors were turning into troublemakers and that from what President Kikwete said on Sunday, the doctors were wrong.
Source: The Daily News,
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