BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
PRESIDENT of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), Enock Dongo yesterday said there has been a worrying increase in the number of nurses infected with COVID 19.
Although Dongo said he did not have an official figure yet, he told NewsDay that the number of nurses infected with the coronavirus was rising sharply since the scrapping of flexi hours.
The flexi-working hours for nurses were scrapped by the Vice-Presidentand Health minister Constantino Chiwenga in May this year. He ordered that instead of nurses working two days a week on a rotational basis, they should report for duty daily.
Chiwenga launched an ambitious health restructuring policy meant to revamp the health sector, and among the changes he scrapped off the flexi-hours which meant shorter working hours for nurses.
Dongo warned that in January they would go back to court to force government to uphold the High Court judgments that said nurses were correct and were entitled as a matter of right to continue with the flexible working-hour system. Both judgments are a matter of public record under case numbers HC6507/20 and HC7099/20.
“Now that nurses are testing positive for COVID-19 due to the scrapping of flexi-hours, we have no choice but to approach the courts,” Dongo said.
“They are in contempt of court and should be jailed. How can they just ignore a ruling of the court?”
Meanwhile, Zina has called for dissolution of the Health Services Board (HSB) which it has described as “weak”.
“It is shameful that instead of apologising to nurses, the government is the one seeking to be appeased.
“The HSB is supposed to represent us on issues of our welfare, but it is not doing anything. It is so weak. In 2021 we want a new start and, therefore, the HSB must go.”
Dongo said the HSB has caused untold suffering on the nurses and ultimately contributed to the poor state of the hospitals.
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