Nurses working in the public health sector have expressed dismay over the government’s nonchalance in dealing with their grievances despite recent appointments in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza as Health Minister and Permanent Secretary, respectively, following the sacking of Obediah Moyo and demotion of Dr Agnes Mahomva.
In a statement this Monday marking the 61st day since the nurses withdrew their labour, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) indicated that there has been no attempt to address nurses’ demands as yet through formal engagement and they are still waiting for an urgent intervention to end this impasse.
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ZINA noted that even though some nurses who had been removed from the payroll have since been reinstated, there are some nurses who are yet to receive their salaries. The statement read in part:
We remain greatly disturbed by the none functioning of our health sector and people potentially needlessly dying in their homes. Government has a duty to protect human life and guarantee health services to citizens.
Whilst we have received reports that some nurses who had been removed from payroll have since been reinstated, our information shows that there are those who are yet to receive their salaries. We urge the authorities to return these back on the payroll.
We remain fortified that our demands are reasonable and it is up to our employer to meet them if it wants us back at work. Our health and capacitation cannot be negotiated away from us.
Nurses embarked on a strike demanding to be paid in US dollars and be provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs) especially in light of the coronavirus crisis.
ZINA reiterated its stance that nurses will not return to work until the government meets its twin demands.