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Zimbabwean doctors on strike again

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Zimbabwean doctors at public hospitals went on strike on Monday for the second time this year to demand better pay and conditions, a union official said.

The work boycott comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government struggles with a deteriorating economy.

The country is short of U.S. dollars, the currency it adopted in 2009, causing price spikes and shortages of basic goods, medicines and fuel.

Mathabisi Bebhe, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association which represents more than 1,000 members, said most junior doctors at the five major hospitals had downed tools to protest over pay, allowances and drugs’ shortages.

More than half of public sector doctors joined the indefinite strike, he said.

With hospitals already short of drugs and reliant on patients to buy them, local pharmacies are no longer accepting insurance policies for purchases, instead demanding U.S. dollars in cash. When using bank cards, prices are at least three times higher.

“We are understaffed and underpaid and there are no medications in the hospitals,” Bebhe said.

“We are really hopeful that the government will intervene as early as possible. The duration of the industrial action depends on when the government gives a proper practical solution.”

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo could not be reached for comment. The government has previously said doctors should present their grievances while at work and has relied on military doctors to help at state hospitals during strikes

At United Bulawayo Hospitals in the city of Bulawayo, senior doctors were only tending to emergency cases after closing the outpatient department, according to a notice to staff.

In March, the doctors went on strike and won an increase in pay and allowances, ending the first big labor dispute Mnangagwa faced since taking power.

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But doctors were still struggling to survive, Bebhe said, after prices of basic goods rose by at least 300 percent since October. Annual inflation was 20.85 percent that month, the first time it has hit double digits in a decade.

The doctors, who earn a basic monthly salary of about $385 before allowances, are also pressing the government to raise on-call allowances by 25 percent to $10 an hour paid in cash. (NAN)

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FG to partner Indian, China to halt shipment of Tramadol – NAFDAC

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The Federal Government says it is planning partnership with  China and India to halt the continued shipment of banned drugs from their countries to Nigeria.

Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye, disclosed this during the flag off of a Youth Against Drug Abuse (YADA) Awareness Campaign organized by NAFDAC) and Yung Pharmacists Group.

According to her, “NAFDAC is assiduously working with governments of South East Asia to stop drugs that can destroy our youths to leave their shores”

She expressed worry over the fact that Tramadol, with higher prescription strengths of 120, 225 and 500 mg and marked “For Exports Only”, are being shipped to Nigeria from China and India.

“These strengths are not allowed in these countries, but they don’t see any problem in exporting them to our country” she told her audience, which included the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osibanjo and the Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi and hundreds of youth groups and organisations.

The Director General further disclosed that since May, 2018, when her agency returned to the ports and borders, it had seized over N200 billion worth of Tramadol and other unregistered drugs.

She charged the National Assembly to help rid the society of the menace of drug abuse by supporting the Drug Safety Bill which, seeks to impose stiffer penalties on drug peddlers.

She also tasked the Judiciary to stand up against drug abuse given to the fact that addiction to drugs had touched most families in Nigeria.

Professor Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye, advised importers of dangerous drugs to desist from their nefarious act while charging government inspection and enforcing agencies to realise that the fight against drugs abuse is a fight for the future of Nigeria.
The Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi 11 condemned the growing incident of drug abuse in the society, while associating the phenomenon to the level of poverty and the failure of the system.

“In the last three or four decades, we have had the process of de-industrialisation and an increasing level of poverty, resulting in a large number of unemployed youths, a very large number of out of school children and a lot of frustrated people” he stated.

For her part, wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, while decrying the prevalence of drugs among youths, urged the society not to criminalise victims of drug abuse in the country but to address the cause of the problem.

Represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, she lamented that many youths have gone astray while many lives have been destroyed as a result of the influence of drugs in the society.

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Why Nigerian doctors are leaving Nigeria—NMA

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The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has attributed poor remuneration and inadequate health facilities as some of the major reasons for mass exodus of medical doctors.

Dr Ekpe Phillips, the FCT Chapter NMA Chairman, said this at the opening of the Annual Health Week of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Phillips described the pay package of doctors in Nigeria as poor, stressing the need for government to increase the remuneration of doctors to address the challenge.

He noted that many doctors who left the country to take up foreign appointment did so due to inadequate facilities among other factors.

He listed mass unemployment, lack of placement for residency faced by a high proportion of medical professionals in Nigeria as other factors.

Phillips said Nigeria is losing doctors to foreign countries, adding that Nigerian doctors are leaving the country for greener pastures and the workload is becoming too much on the doctors that stay.

“We hear doctors collapsing because the workload is too much because their colleagues have left to find a greener gesture.

“We have internal and international brain drain; Nigeria now has one doctor catering for 5,000 patients instead of one doctor to 600
patients.

“Brain drain is now becoming pandemic and sad news because government did not and still is not doing enough; there is no serious commitment to stemming this syndrome.

“Nigeria which was one of the richest 50 countries in the early 70s has metro greased to become one of the 25 poorest countries in the
World today,’’ he said.

Dr Michael Olarewaju, the President of Association of Residents Doctors, FCT chapter, said that brain drain was a massive problem to Nigeria’s health system.

He said that if the problem was not properly tackled in the next two to three years there would not be enough doctors to treat patients in the country.

He observed that initially the problem in the sector was strike by health workers “but now they are not going on strike but are exiting the country’’. (NAN)

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Seeking Quality Healthcare Innovation Through Hospital Design: A New Roundtable Series

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In early November architects from across East Africa gathered in Nairobi to attend the first in a series of hospital development workshops. The workshops, entitled, “Improving Quality Healthcare through Hospital Design and Construction,” are exploring through discussion and shared best practice how architecture plays a fundamental role in the provision of quality healthcare.

The 22 participants, comprising architects and other relevant professional groupings such as quantity surveyors, biomedical engineers, were welcomed by The Nairobi Hospital CEO Gordon Odundo. The first workshop was facilitated in collaborating with AMPC International Health Consultants and the Nairobi Hospital. The series is organized by PharmAccess together with Medical Credit Fund as part of their capacity building initiatives in support of technical assistance services to healthcare facilities. They are being supported by a Dutch government funded program and a CDC Grant facility (CDC Plus), funded by UKAid from the UK Government.

The main objective of the workshop series is to create awareness and explore options for addressing the current challenges in hospital design and construction as well as build local knowledge by involving of key professionals in the hospital construction business such as: architects, project managers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, Life & Fire safety experts, contractors etc.

Violet Mafuwe (above)

Among the participants, Tanzanian architect Violet Mafuwe said “I liked AMPC’s sessions, they were very elaborative and gave us the chance to share our experience. I also enjoyed the hospital tour because I could make a parallel between the insights learned during the sessions and elements of the facilities visited during the tour.” Violet holds a master’s degree in “Architecture for Health Design” from Sapienza University in Rome, Italy.

Robinson Onyango Maguro, a project manager at Kenyatta Hospital as well as a private consultant in various hospital design projects, is also a graduate of the ““Architecture for Health Design” master and a former colleague of Violet Mafuwe: “My hospital design experience is mostly in the public sector and I appreciate learning from other architects with experience in the private sector as well as getting to understand the investors’ perspective. SafeCare as an eye opener in terms of what is needed to ensure quality standards in the hospital environment.”

– PharmAccess Foundation

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