BY SHARON BUWERIMWE/LORRAINE MUROMO
THE Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) says health professionals have lost faith in Health minister Constantino Chiwenga improving their welfare and arresting the collapse of the health sector.
Government hospitals have been hard hit by mass resignations of nurses, resulting in the ministry introducing a number of measures such as withholding their certificates of good standing which are required when searching for work abroad.
The Nurses and Midwives’ Council of Zimbabwe has also said nurses who intend to leave the country must also satisfy all statutory requirements, including bonding after the council was flooded with requests for the clearance certificates.
Zina president Enock Dongo yesterday told NewsDay Weekender that a survey by the union showed that the situation in the country’s public health system has worsened.
“The nurses were also saying when Chiwenga came in, they had a lot of hope and trust that the health delivery system was going to improve,” Dongo said.
“However, nothing has improved. Rather there is deterioration and they have lost whatever they had gained. Right now nurses are the worst paid as compared to other civil servants.”
Dongo said health professionals were also frustrated by intimidated by authorities.
In 2018, Chiwenga made international headlines when he fired all nurses for going on strike.
There is a push to bar nurses and doctors from going on strike if the Health Service Amendment Bill is passed.
“They (nurses) said they are no longer safe and free to express themselves including the managers and provincial medical directors who were also complaining that they don’t have any access to the ministry management so that they present the challenges faced by health workers,” Dongo said.
“This has made things very worse. So what it means is that people have lost hope and that is why there is rampant brain drain across the country.”
Health ministry spokesperson Donald Mujiri was not answering his mobile phone despite repeated efforts, while Health deputy minister John Mangwiro’s mobile was not reachable.
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