With memories of the last strike by doctors countrywide still fresh in their minds, most Tanzanians were filled with fear and anxiety by the looming strike. The intended strike failed to take place as planned after the high Court granted the government a temporary injunction to block the doctor’s nationwide strike.
A ‘Sunday News’ team visited various hospitals and found business going on as usual there. There did not appear to be a sign of strike as doctors attended to patients the way they have always done. Earlier, the Minister for Health and Social welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi called on doctors to call off their strike because the government had agreed to some of their demands while the two parties awaited the High Court’s decision.
The minister was quoted as saying that he has done everything in his power to avert a looming crisis, and promised the disgruntled doctors that their grievances would be taken care of. When the doctors showed their intentions to stage a strike on Saturday, fear engulfed the nation because many people cannot afford paying for private medical services.
“We hope that the doctors will call off their strike, because we still remember how the last one affected most parts of the country, and I know that there is a possibility that some patients lost their lives because of lack of medical attention,” said Fatuma Mrisho, a resident of Ilala in Dar es Salaam, who had gone for treatment at the Amana Hospital.
Operations continued to run smoothly at the Muhimbili National hospital, despite the presence of posters all over the hospital, declaring that the strike would continue if nothing was done by the June 23.
On Friday, the minister said that some of the doctor’s demands which the government had agreed to included increment of on-call allowances from 10,000/- to 15,000/- for interns, 20,000/- for registered doctors and 25,000/- for specialists. Postmortem allowances have also been increased from 10,000/- for doctors to 100,000/- and 50,000/- for mortuary assistants.