Zimbabwe: Nurses and doctors down tools
Just when you thought things cannot get any worse, nurses and doctors have downed tools over the government’s failure to provide them with protective personal clothing and a host of other demands.
The world is in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic and the strike by nurses and doctors could be devastating on the country. The nurses said it seemed the government was not treating their demands with the urgency they deserved and with that they would not be reporting to work.
“… all nurses are withdrawing their services with immediate effect until there is genuine action taken by the employer,” the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) said in a statement.
“We will only get back to work once our concerns have been swiftly acted on.” The health workers demanded a coronavirus risk allowance, protective clothing and that authorities ensure that there is running water.
On the other hand, doctors decried the government’s failure to respond to their demands, particularly the issue of protective clothing. Furthermore, they said “the way in which the hospital is to be functioning remains vurge (sic)”. “… we would like to make it clear in no uncertain terms that our members will not be able to continue carrying out their duties with immediate effect,
” the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors said in a letter written to the Harare Central Hospital management. Zimbabwe has so far recorded one coronavirus casualty, while three infections have been confirmed.
The health workers have also bemoaned the lack of training and government’s seemingly ill-preparedness to handle the coronavirus. However, mistrust in public officials seems to be at an all time high, as Zimbabweans suspect they are not being told the whole story.
Doctors went on strike last year and it had to take the intervention of businessman Strive Masiyiwa to bring them back into the fold. Since then, the relationship between the government and the doctors has remained uneasy.