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Zimbabwe doctors to join nurses on strike as virus cases rise

Some 15,000 nurses have been on strike for two weeks over wages that have been hit by galloping inflation.

A medical staff member wearing protective equipment places a face mask on a mock patient at the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare on 11 March 2020. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Senior doctors in Zimbabwe's public health service have threatened to walk out over low pay and lack of coronavirus protective gear, in the latest dispute to plague the country's battered health system.

Some 15,000 nurses have been on strike for two weeks over wages that have been hit by galloping inflation.

Coronavirus infections are rising rapidly, reaching 1,089 cases including 20 fatalities, according to official figures.

"We are finding it difficult to continue offering services in our work stations because of a number of challenges... for which no solution has been proffered," the Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors' Association said.

Its notice to strike, seen by AFP on Thursday, takes effect in two weeks.

Price rises in Zimbabwe are running at more than 700%, eroding salaries and savings and reigniting memories of hyperinflation a decade ago.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week axed the health minister, Obadiah Moyo, over corruption allegations involving medical procurement worth US$60 million.

Days later, the Health Services Board fired the heads of five state hospitals in what it termed "a restructuring exercise."

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