NURSES and other support staff at public hospitals have threatened to down tools tomorrow in solidarity with junior doctors, who went on strike two weeks ago over poor working conditions.
BY Phyllis Mbanje
Senior doctors at the country’s major public hospitals joined the industrial action on Monday, paralysing the health delivery system.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) secretary-general, Enock Dongo, told NewsDay that nurse managers and educators met in the city yesterday and resolved to join the strike, if health workers’ demands are not addressed.
“We have communicated before to the HSB (Health Services Board) and the Health ministry but no action has been taken. So we are saying, if by Thursday, there has not been any move to settle our concerns, we will not report for duty,” he said.
Besides a salary and medical allowance hike, health workers are also demanding provision of drugs and other supplies to enable them to effectively discharge their duties.
“We have been working without the required equipment. Imagine five wards sharing just one BP machine or a nurse running around to secure a sputum jug. How efficient do you think the nurses can be without tools of the trade,” he said.
“The other critical issue is that of stand-by allowances for nurse managers. This was suspended years ago and yet it was the one that separated junior nurses from senior nurses. Despite the exposure to infections especially when working with inadequate tools, the nurses are getting a paltry $40 as medical allowance,” Dongo said.
“So if all these concerns are not met, nurses will not report for duty.
“We are quite serious and if they think we are joking, they will be utterly surprised.”