Health professionals yesterday scoffed at the government’s offer that is meant to stop mass resignations saying their employer was focusing on trivialities.
The government offered to provide non-monetary incentives such as staff accommodation, transport, vehicle loans, provision of meals and WiFi facilities to reduce brain drain in the health sector.
Speaking during a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said an inter-ministerial committee identified measures to accelerate the provision of the incentives.
Zimbabwe Senior Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse accused the government of ignoring the salary issue, which he said was the real problem that was causing the brain drain. Nyaguse tweeted on Thursday:
We remain concerned with suggestions that WiFi and canteens are incentives that will resolve the ongoing challenges.
The employer has been ignoring the elephants in the room, which includes issues of fair and commensurate remuneration, an enabling, conducive working environment and medical insurance for healthcare workers. The lack of consultative dialogue is glaring.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enoch Dongo said: “It’s the employer’s responsibility to give Wi-Fi and canteen at workplaces as a courtesy, not allowance or incentive.” He added:
The government offer was not supposed to be publicised since it’s their responsibility to do that. It is obvious the so-called incentive will not stop nurses from going outside the country whatsoever.
Dongo said health professionals want a living wage and improvement of the working environment. He said they have other needs including schools fees for their children that cannot be paid for through “ WiFi or getting sadza at work.”
Doctors and nurses have gone on strike on several occasions since 2017 to pressure the government to review their salaries, but their employer has been employing military tactics to force them back to work.