Health professionals deserve better

THE brief work stoppage by nurses in Harare and Bulawayo last week over lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) was a serious indictment on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership given its recent claims that all was in place to guard the country against the spread of the second wave of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

This begs the question: Is everything in place really? Government needs not be reminded that human life is sacrosanct. Health institutions are supposed to be citadels of good health, but can easily transform into death traps when manned by sick personnel equipped with bare minimum safety clothing.

Reports that hundreds of health personnel at public hospitals are carriers of the deadly virus paint a gloomy picture of the state of affairs in hospitals, where patients now face the grim prospect of being infected by the same frontline health workers who are supposed to be taking care of them.

Medical professionals have been affected left, right and centre and many of them have suffered from secondary traumatic stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive disorders.

Life has not been easy for the medical professionals, hence there is greater need for appreciation of these important fighters in the COVID-19 struggle.

Considering that COVID-19 is a medical emergency, health personnel’s welfare and safety should be prioritised.

Surely, reports of nurses going on strike at this point in time is the last thing Zimbabweans would want to hear.

COVID-19 cases are rising and so are deaths, hence government should show its commitment to the handling of the pandemic by making sure the nurses are protected.

Imagine how many people go through the hands of the nurses. If the nurses are exposed, how many will contract the virus? Sadly, the nurses have disclosed that they are being forced to work even when exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

Government has been doling out a lot of money to some projects which, in our view, are of a lesser value than human lives.

We hear that Treasury is soon set to release $100 million to be shared between Zanu PF and the opposition MDC-T under the Political Parties Finance Act. This would turn out to be a question of misplaced priorities given the gravity of the health catastrophe the nation is facing.

Government has been receiving a lot of PPE donations from well-wishers within and outside our borders, and it would appear the donations are not reaching the intended beneficiaries.

Citizens deserve a considerate and responsible government that values human life more than political expediency.

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