Nurses Criticize Chiwenga’s Heavy Handedness
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) president Enoch Dongo says Vice President Constantine Chiwenga’s heavy-handedness on nurses has closed doors for dialogues between the government and health workers, worsening their already depleted situation.
Dongo accused Chiwenga, a retired Army General and his Permanent Secretary, Dr Jasper Chimedza, a retired Air Commodore of using military tactics and neglecting nurses who test positive to the COVID-19, diverting from their earlier promises that nurses would be taken care of once they are infected.
“Ever since the ministry was taken over by the Vice-President and the current permanent secretary, Chimedza, dialogue over health workers’ welfare is difficult,” Dongo said.
“They are needlessly tough. Right now, I don’t even know what to report to our members over the COVID-19 risk allowance.
“But if we continue under the current circumstances, the virus is going to wipe away all nurses at health institutions because as frontline workers, they are highly exposed to the virus,” he added.
He said COVID-19 positive nurses have resorted to creating social media groups where they console each other.
Dongo noted that the silence by the government on the provision of protective equipment for nurses is a sign of a lack of seriousness and lack of empathy.
“In the event that a nurse has fallen victim to the virus, the government should show concern by making sure that the health worker accesses the required care and drugs. As it is now, Zina has lost count of health workers who have contracted the virus and many of them are exposed to unsafe working environments,” he fumed.
“So pathetic is the situation that COVID-19 positive nurses have resorted to creating social media groups where they console each other,” Dongo added.
Many frontline health workers have been exposed to the virus due to the limited availability of protective equipment.
At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, nurses in public hospitals went on an industrial action calling on the government to provide enough protective equipment.