A nationwide strike involving Zimbabwe’s public sector doctors has been negotiated to an end thanks to a donation by the country’s richest man, telecoms businessman, Strive Masiyiwa.
The four-month strike had paralyzed healthcare delivery in Zimbabwe. The over 2,000 doctors were protesting poor salaries which they hoped would be adjusted for the country’s 500% inflation.
But Masiyiwa, who owns Econet Wireless and worth some $1.1 billion, agreed with doctors to go back to the hospitals while he disburses $6.25 million through his charity, Higherlife Foundation.
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Zimbabwe’s public doctors earn about $200. But Masiyiwa’s measure will take care of six months of $300 salaries for 2,000 doctors.
A statement on Tuesday from the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said the doctors have accepted the offer and are going back to work.
“In light of the recent development, the ZHDA wants to extend its gratitude to the Higherlife Foundation for extending its offer once again to all government doctors. The ZHDA is encouraging its entire membership to go and apply for the training fellowship before the stipulated deadline,” said the statement signed by Tawanda Zvakada, the group’s acting general secretary.
Zimbabwe is yet to emerge from a near-decade of economic difficulty that stagnated growth and impoverished many in the southern African country.
Western sanctions against the government of erstwhile president, Robert Mugabe, as well as failed economic experiments, have worsened the plight of millions.