Telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa will seek to break a three-month strike by Zimbabwean doctors by offering them an extra ZWL$5,000 (US$310) monthly, his foundation announced.
The doctors will also get a smartphone, a taxi ride from home, uniforms and diagnostic aides.
The Higher Life Foundation, founded by Masiyiwa and his wife, Tsitsi, stressed that the offer was a “unilateral initiative” which it did not develop in consultation with the government or the doctors.
The ZWL$100 million “medical training completion fellowship” fund will cover up to 2,000 doctors – but they must be at work to benefit.
“In order for our healthcare system to continue having this continuous inflow of doctors, it is important for junior and senior resident officers to complete their training within the designated time period,” the foundation said in a statement.
“The scholarship covers those who are currently undergoing a junior or senior resident programme… (and) will last for the duration of six months, with funding contingent upon fellows remaining enrolled in their programme in that period and satisfying all requirements.”
The government plans to fire 516 of the 1,601 junior and middle level doctors working in public hospitals for participating in the strike over pay that has been ongoing since September 3.
The government said last month it had doubled doctors’ salaries. But doctors said that was inadequate, as it would only increase their monthly salary to about 2,000 Zimbabwe dollars or US$130.
On Tuesday, senior doctors also went on strike to protest against the dismissal of their junior colleagues. Zimbabwe has about 200 senior doctors, including specialists, working in public hospitals.