Nurses say it is now difficult to negotiate with Health Ministry officials over their welfare since Vice President Constantino Chiwenga took over the portfolio.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enoch Dongo on Tuesday said the government has not yet paid nurses the monthly COVID-19 risk allowance several months after they were promised the stipend.
According to the agreement, any worker Grade E5 and below will be entitled to US$650 if they contract the virus while on duty, while those Grade F and above will get US$1 000.
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Dongo said several nurses have fallen sick from the coronavirus and had recovered, but no risk allowance money was given to them despite having applied for the money. He said:
Ever since the ministry was taken over by the Vice-President (Chiwenga) and the current permanent secretary (Chimedza), dialogue over health workers’ welfare is difficult.
They are needlessly tough. Right now, I don’t even know what to report to our members over the COVID-19 risk allowance.
But if we continue under the current circumstances, the virus is going to wipe away all nurses at health institutions because as frontline workers, they are highly exposed to the virus.
Dongo accused the government of abandoning nurses once they tested positive to the virus.
He said COVID-19 positive nurses have resorted to creating social media groups where they console each other.