Wednesday, 28 April 2021

OVER 100 HARARE CITY COUNCIL NURSES QUIT

THE Harare City Council (HCC) has been hit by a mass exodus of nurses, plunging its health department into distress and forcing the municipality to resort to locums to temporarily address the situation.

Speaking to the Daily News at the weekend, HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme, said that while they have managed to open all clinics, resignations had severely affected service delivery.

“From the last quarter of 2021 up to March, we lost over 100 nurses who had resigned and this adversely affected us because at some point we could not open clinics.

“Most of them were citing poor conditions of service and salaries which is what we are working to resolve. At the moment we are relying on locums and hope to get new nurses that fill up the vacant positions,” Chideme said.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enock Dongo on the other hand said resignations by nurses were a nationwide issue threatening to derail the fight against Covid-19, as the country braces for a third wave.

“… the Harare issue is just but a reflection of a nationwide problem. Nurses are resigning everywhere across Zimbabwe and in the case of city councils, a holistic approach should be taken between them and the government to solve this crisis,” Dongo said.

“We have raised issues of remuneration and conditions of service for a long time now but no action has been taken. In Harare we even took the council to court after they failed to pay our members’ salaries and eventually most of them left for greener pastures.

“Some of the nurses actually left their jobs to safeguard their lives when Covid-19 hit the country because there was no adequate personal protective clothing putting them at risk.”

Last year, the Health ministry scrapped flexible working hours citing increased demand for nurses’ services in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministry and nurses are currently entangled in legal battles pending before the courts over the issue.

Nurses have maintained that spending longer hours at health institutions in the absence of adequate personal protective equipment increased their risk of contracting Covid-19. “Now, this is the consequence of nurses resigning. If you look at public health institutions you will see that numbers of resignations have trebled. If we are to compare January 2020 and January this year, for example, Parirenyatwa had about 13 resignations last year compared to the recent 53 and these are senior nurses and midwives,” Dongo added. Daily News

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