Tuesday, 8 September 2020

PATIENTS ARE NOT PAWNS : CHIWENGA WARNS DOCS, NURSES


VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga has warned health professionals against using patients’ lives as pawns while bargaining for better working conditions.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Chiwenga, who doubles as Health minister, also revealed that government had increased health workers’ salaries to entice them to call off their three-month strike, but could not disclose the level of the increase.

“As we move forward and face the future with courage, the expectation of government is that the work ethics and work culture within the Ministry of Health and Child Care undergo deep transformation,” he said.

“We expect all grievances to be solved amicably through discussions without endangering patients’ lives; never again shall patients’ lives be used like pawns in a game of chess.”
Nurses have been on strike for over three months.

Doctors joined the strike last month, citing lack of government commitment to address the health professionals’ grievances.

Since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over in a November 2017 coup, doctors and nurses have downed tools several times demanding better salaries and working conditions.

Chiwenga, who took over as Health minister last month following the axing of Obadiah Moyo on corruption charges in June, said strikes by health professional should be a thing of the past.

“Health professionals will now be expected to be true to their oath of ethics, the hippocratic oath. We also expect any demands to be made based on our national reality. As government, we commit to continuously review the conditions of service of our health professionals,” he said.

“On the conditions of service of health professionals, the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s new structure includes the critical infrastructure planning and development department which is key to the development of health professionals infrastructure needs.

“Housing and vehicle loans will also form part of the improved conditions of service … We have now reviewed salaries for health professionals as a way of government commitment to make the national healthcare system competitive.

“To this end, an overall increase on health sector specific allowances will be effected by government.

“We are convinced that salaries and conditions of service are bound to further improve and be more competitive in the short-to-medium term because of the important measures.” Newsday

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