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Nurses strike continues

21 Jun 2020 at 11:09hrs | Views
THE strike by nurses at Bulawayo's two major hospitals entered day two yesterday with a handful of the health workers reporting for work.

Nurses at Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals on Friday went on strike demanding that their salaries be reverted to 1 October 2018 levels which were in United States dollars, which they said was a stable currency that can store value of their salaries.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Mr Solwayo Ngwenya said only 21 nurses out of 80 who were expected yesterday afternoon had reported for duty.

"Yes, it's still on (strike). A total of 21 out of 80 nurses expected to be on duty are at work. No doctors are on strike. A few student nurses and student midwives are also at work," he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Narcisius Dzvanga were fruitless but an insider said the situation was bad.

"It is a terrible situation that we have this side, we cannot function efficiently without the nurses. Those in the maternity department were working with one midwife in the labour ward which is not acceptable and risky too looking at the number of cases. We cannot work this way for such a big institution, we have had to go back to emergency mode but still we are failing to cope, it's just not a workable way out. Nurses are truly the backbone of healthcare in any country, they are essential."

The source said nurses were ward managers and were a critical part in the functioning of a hospital.

"They spend a lot of time with patients and when they are not there it is a disaster."

Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Mr Enock Dongo was quoted last week saying the nurses' salaries in US dollars were stable as local currency was continuously eroding pensions, savings, medical aid and funeral policies, among other things.

However, last week, the Government announced a foreign currency package for civil servants that is meant to cushion them during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government awarded all civil servants, nurses included, a flat non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of US$75 across the board while Government pensioners will receive US$30.

Civil servants were also awarded a 50 percent salary increase starting this month while a final long-term package would be announced after three months.

Source - sundaynews
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