Patients waited in long queues while others were being turned away at state hospitals in Zimbabwe on Tuesday as hundreds of doctors staged a strike to press for higher pay. From AFP:
“The nationwide strike has attracted an overwhelming response from all government hospitals with over 300 doctors withdrawing their services until the employer meets their demands,” Farai Makoni, president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, told AFP.
“What the doctors are asking for is not anything out of this world.”
Makoni said the junior doctors want their monthly salaries increased from $283 to $1,200, their housing and transport allowances raised and are also seeking a risk allowance.
“These grievances have been there for some time and the strike shall be protracted if the employer continues to pay a blind eye to the plight of doctors.”
A few senior doctors were working at major government hospitals in the capital with patients having a long wait in the outpatients’ departments.
At Harare Hospital, one of the country’s largest health institutions, which caters mainly for the urban poor, doctors were attending to emergencies only while turning away non-critical patients.
The health ministry said in a statement it was concerned that the doctors went on strike “without exhausting the existing mechanisms for dialogue.”
“The government remains committed to improving the working conditions of all its workers within the provisions of the available fiscal space,” it said.
Spotlight on PSI
Today, AstraZeneca, Population Services Kenya (part of the global PSI network) and partners launched Healthy Heart Africa (HHA), an innovative and sustainable program that aims to improve the lives of hypertensive patients across Africa. Africa is home to the highest prevalence of people over 25 with raised blood pressure and an estimated 25% of deaths under 60 are attributable to hypertension. Healthy Heart Africa will support local health systems by providing education and helping increase awareness of the symptoms and risks of hypertension, screening, treatment and control. By focusing on hypertension, Healthy Heart Africa will lay the foundation for future programs focused on preventing and treating non-communincable diseases (NCDs). HHA will initially be launched in Kenya, with a view to expanding to other countries on the continent.
To read more, click here
Global Health and Development Beat
A leading malaria control expert has said efforts to contain the disease may be jeopardised by the Ebola crisis.
The pace of population growth is so quick that even draconian restrictions of childbirth, pandemics or a third world war would still leave the world with too many people for the planet to sustain, according to a study.
The Red Cross said Tuesday the weekly total of Ebola victims collected by its body disposal teams around the Liberian capital is falling dramatically, indicating a sharp drop in the spread of the epidemic.
The latest Global Gender Gap Index is out, from the World Economic Forum. The index finds that Iceland comes in best when it comes to gender equity and Yemen is worst.
Humanitarian groups in Australia are criticizing the government’s policy to impose a blanket ban on visas for citizens of the three West African nations affected by the Ebola virus outbreak.
Health workers are monitoring 82 people who had contact with a toddler who died of Ebola in Mali last week, but no new cases of the disease have yet been reported, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.
In the face of such stigmatization, Ebola survivors are joining an association in Guinea that assists the growing number of people who recover and seeks ways for them to help combat the disease.
Some 14.7 million people, – more than half of Yemen’s population, need help – making it one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world, UN OCHA describes how aid is helping change lives for the better.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced a $7 million partnership between the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The Swiss agency that regulates new drugs said Tuesday it has approved an application for a clinical trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital.
Buzzing in the Blogs
The PSI blog describes how a Zambian reality TV star is supporting HIV prevention by sharing his circumcision journey. From the blog:
Famous for his appearance on “Big Brother Africa,” Sulu is a role model for many young people in Zambia and throughout Africa. In this short documentary, “Sulu Takes the Step,” the reality TV star gets circumcised and encourages others to follow his lead for HIV prevention.
In a nation with an HIV prevalence rate of 12.5 percent, voluntary medical male circumcision is a critical tool to stem the tide of the disease. Proven to reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent, male circumcision efforts have been intensified significantly over the last several years. In 2014, PSI performed its 1 millionth circumcision. Read more about PSI’s work here.
In Zambia, “Sulu Takes the Step” aired nationally and has been used to promote the benefits of voluntary medical male circumcision throughout the country and region. It follows Sulu through the different steps of a male circumcision, including counseling and education sessions before the procedure, the procedure itself and followup medical visits. The video connects viewers to a toll free line in Zambia where they can call to learn more about medical male circumcision and find the clinic nearest to them.
“Guys let’s do this thing man,” Sulu urges his audience following his circumcision. “It’s for our own good. This country needs you.”
12:00 PM – Challenges for Journalism in Latin America – Freedom House
6:30 PM – What 6 Billion People Think: The Gallup World Poll – Young Professionals in FP
12:00 PM – Education Innovations in Pakistan: A Look at DFID Programs – SID
11:00 AM – Cultural Adaptation and Translation in Autism Research: Global Perspectives – Elliot School
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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Disclaimer: Opinions presented in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of PSI.