Tuesday, 21 June 2022


HEALTH workers at major hospitals in Bulawayo ignored a call to go on strike and were attending to patients yesterday.

On Friday, nurses and public hospital doctors’ unions issued a public notice announcing that their members would embark on an industrial action from yesterday, citing incapacitation.

A survey by the Chronicle established that there was normalcy at Bulawayo hospitals yesterday.

Health workers at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Central Hospital performed their duties as expected.

The situation was similar in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and in the Midlands Province.

Government has said it will effect a 100 percent salary increment for civil servants with effect from July 1 and public sector workers will continue enjoying the US$175 allowances introduced last year.

Although a meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) to discuss a cost-of-living adjustment for civil servants ended in a deadlock last Friday, Government will in the meantime effect the 100 percent salary increase while negotiations continue.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the hospital had not recorded any industrial action related disruptions.

“We have seen the communication (on the strike) on social media, but on the ground, we are carrying our normal service delivery to the people,” he said. “Nurses are working, doctors are working. You can go to the wards and see it for yourself. So far, we haven’t seen the strike materialising, only a few people who had gathered here have since dispersed.”

Prof Ngwenya said hospital authorities will continue monitoring the situation while attending to patients.

UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said no disruptions had been recorded at the hospital.

“As of today, the situation on the ground at UBH is normal like any other day and we are copying,” said Dr Dzvanga.

Health Services Board chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikosana said the situation was normal at most hospitals in the country.

“As far as we are concerned, the health workers are at work,” he said. “Have you checked at Mpilo Central Hospital, Ingutsheni Central Hospital and UBH; the health workers are at work. I have checked with the provincial medical directors and the situation is normal.”

Dr Sikosana could not be drawn into commenting about the situation in Harare.

He said: “I cannot comment on things that I don’t know about.”

At Gweru Provincial Hospital (GPH) nurses had a meeting in the morning to deliberate on the way forward.

After the indaba, some nurses remained at work attending to patients while others went home.

When our Bulawayo Bureau visited GPH at around 2PM yesterday, the outpatient department was functional with patients being attended to by nurses.

Doctors were also attending to patients.

Midlands provincial medical director Dr Mary Muchekeza said she would comment later.

In Matabeleland North, it was business as usual as nurses and other health workers were on duty at their respective work stations.

This included Government health facilities and local authority-run clinics.

It was also business as usual at Gwanda Provincial Hospital as health workers were attending to patients. Matabeleland South provincial medical director Dr Rudo Chikodzero said health workers in the province had turned up for work as usual.

“As of today (yesterday) everyone was at work. The report that I received from our health institutions across the province is that it was business as usual,” said Dr Chikodzero.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo said as far as they are concerned nurses had embarked on a strike.

He said in hospitals such as Harare Provincial Hospital and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals both doctors and nurses had down their tools.

“There has been a 14-month lack of communication between health workers and Government,” he said. “We have failed to bring Government to the table to discuss the issue of low remunerations and poor working environment.

“This is why we have downed our tools from now until further notice. We call on the Government to quickly address the concerns of the health workers as the situation on the ground will lead to the suffering of members of the public.”

Mr Dongo said workers still believe the 100 percent salary increase offer was too little as they want their salaries to be benchmarked against the US dollar.

Government last week resolved to increase civil servants’ salaries by 100 percent next month while retaining the US$175 forex component in their salaries. Herald


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