COVID-19: Doctors, Nurses Strike Over Govt’s Failure To Provide Safety Kit

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By Leopold Munhende

DOCTORS and nurses in public hospitals have gone on strike following government’s failure to provide them with protective clothing and better working conditions in light of an increased threat of contracting coronavirus when dealing with patients.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president Tawanda Zvakada confirmed the development, in a letter to Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.

The industrial action by the country’s medical professionals could throw government’s efforts in containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus into disarray.

“We have expressed to you the issue of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is still not yet available,” reads the letter to Moyo.

“The way in which the hospital (Harare Hospital) is to be functioning still remains vague.

“Whilst you continue to run around putting things in place, we would like to make it clear in no uncertain terms that our members will not be able to continue carrying out their duties with immediate effect.”

Doctors spent the last four months of 2019 on strike demanding better working conditions, improved remuneration and enough medical paraphernalia to use during their duties.

The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZIMA) also announced the withdrawal of services by its membership, claiming government was ignoring their concerns.

“Following our letter that was presented to our employer 48 hours ago, informing it to urgently attend to our demands as frontline workers, it seems our concerns are not getting the urgency they deserve,” ZIMA said.

“So, in that regard all nurses are withdrawing their services with immediate effect until there is genuine action taken by the employer. We will only get back to work once our concerns have been swiftly acted upon.”