Zimbabwe’s doctors have agreed to return to work after accepting funding offer from a Zimbabwe billionaire to end the prolonged strike.
The strike over pay and poor conditions lasted more than four months, paralysing the country’s healthcare sector.
The billionaire, a private citizen who lives in the UK, will fund the doctors for six months through a fellowship programme run by his Higherlife Foundation, a charitable organisation.
Zimbabwean telecoms billionaire Strive Masiyiwa tabled an offer to break the impasse Last year saying he would set up a 100m Zimbabwean dollar ($6.25m; £4.8m) fund.
He said this fund would pay up to 2,000 doctors a subsistence allowance of about US$300 a month to help them with transport and living costs. What happens after that this period is not clear to the rest of the world.
Meanwhile the president of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) In a statement confirmed Mr Masiyiwa’s offer had been accepted. The statement read in part says:
“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.”
Dr Tawanda Zvakada, spokesman for the ZHDA, told the BBC that doctors were “still looking for a long term solution”.
He said Most of the striking doctors were earning less US$100 a month, leaving them struggling to buy food or get to work.
They are demanding salary increases pegged to the US dollar to cope with triple-digit inflation stoked by Zimbabwe’s collapsing economy.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a deep economic crisis that has seen high unemployment, food shortages and rolling power blackouts.
The Zimbabwean government has said it cannot afford to increase salaries. It is yet to comment on Mr Masiyiwa’s offer.
according to Forbes. Founder of phone network Econet Wireless, Mr Masiyiwa is have a net worth of about US$1.1bn