Nurses at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals were reportedly forced to work without personal protective equipment (PPEs) and some of them have unfortunately contracted the coronavirus/COVID-19.
An anonymous nurse spoke to NewZimbabwe and claimed they are being forced by senior officials at the institution to continue working under those risky conditions. The nurse said:
Our lives are at risk. We are told to continue working without proper protective clothing.
We have pleaded with the authorities to assist with PPEs but they told us that we must find our own means to protect ourselves.
How do we even protect ourselves when we don’t have enough protective equipment? PPEs are in short supply. In most cases, we have to use the same face mask longer than what is required for front-line workers.
These sentiments were echoed by the president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, Enock Dongo, who told NewZimbabwe that the poor working conditions were giving rise to Covid-19 cases among the front-line workers. Dongo said:
The complaints are coming to us on a daily basis. There is no protective clothing in hospitals. From the number of Covid-19 cases published by the Ministry of Health daily, there are so many health workers who are testing positive there.
We are pleading with the government daily but to no avail. We have told the government countless times that hospitals are highly infectious and, therefore, health workers must be supported differently from other ordinary workers but all is of no help.
In a hospital environment, health workers are advised to change their face masks frequently. This is not what is happening right now. Nurses are enduring long hours without changing their PPEs. This is exposing them to the virus. A number of them are now sick.
Earlier this year, a number of health caregivers deserted public health institutions en masse citing poor remuneration and great exposure to the coronavirus.
Zimbabwe recently recorded a surge in the number of new cases and health authorities are warning against complacency.