Harare – Hundreds of patients endured long hours waiting in casualty units at Zimbabwe’s state hospitals on Saturday due to a crippling strike by doctors seeking higher allowances and better work conditions.

Zimbabwe had one of Africa’s best healthcare systems but a brain drain following a plunge into economic crisis and hyper-inflation has wreaked all-round havoc, including on the medical sector.

“There are practically no doctors at most hospitals,” Edgar Munatsi, president of the Hospital Doctors’ Association told AFP.

“It’s a sad situation but unfortunately there has been little movement on the part of the government to try to address our grievances.”

The doctors are demanding that call allowances be raised to a minimum of $10 per hour up from the current $1.20, that government guarantees jobs for junior doctors after internship or allow junior doctors who can’t find jobs to start private practice, Munatsi said.

They also want permission to import cars duty-free.

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