Nurses Demands Meeting With Health Services Commission

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Nurses Demands Meeting With Health Services Commission

Nurses working at public health institutions have implored the Government to improve their salaries and conditions of service and have requested a meeting with their employer within the next 14 days.

In a letter to the Health Services Commission (HSC), dated 24 May 2023 and addressed to the HSC acting secretary-general Angelbert Mbengwa, Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo said nurses have been pushed to the limit of their endurance. He wrote:

Firstly it is a matter of great regret that precedent is seemingly showing that the plight of nurses is not an issue of concern to the employer.

The Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel, which is supposed to be the forum in which issues are discussed has been deliberately made useless as it has not met in the past two years despite our persistent request for it to sit and discuss issues.

As nurses, our morale is at its lowest ever. We are working under extremely poor conditions that are not only unsafe to patients but even unsafe to ourselves.

Even our capacity to withstand pain has been pushed to the extreme because on a daily basis, we see patients dying simply because basic medication and equipment that could potentially save their lives are not in stock at our hospitals.

The amended Health Services Act prohibits public healthcare workers from striking for more than 72 hours.

Health workers, who go on strike face disciplinary action, while organisers of such strikes can face imprisonment of up to six months or both.

But Dongo said threatening nurses with arrest or withholding the letter of good standing does not address the challenges that they are facing. He said:

We, therefore, urge our employer to have a listening ear and seriously consider our plight. To refuse to meet us is not the answer.

To simply say we will arrest you if you strike is not the answer. To withhold the necessary letter of good standing so as to sabotage our efforts to seek employment in other jurisdictions is not the answer.

We, therefore, kindly, but urgently request a meeting with you and interested stakeholders within the next 14 days so as to find solutions for the good of our health sector.

Contacted for comment by NewsDay, Mbengwa said he had not yet received the letter. 

He added that should the commission receive the letter, it would “look into the issues raised”.

Nurses currently earn US$200 in allowances and another U$100 in local currency which they say does not meet their basic needs.

More: Pindula News



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