Strike: Unemployed volunteer nurses pitch up, turned away from Masvingo hospital

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By Tonderai Saharo

Masvingo: There was a circus at Masvingo Provincial Hospital Thursday after a group of 15 trained but unemployed nurses turned up at the health facility to take up posts rendered vacant by nurses who have gone on strike.

The group, operating under the banner, Zimbabwe Young Nurses Association (ZYNA), was however turned away by hospital authorities for jumping the gun.

The unemployed nurses were told to first seek clearance with Ministry of Health officials in Harare before they could perform any duty.

The province’s sole referral centre has reportedly stopped admitting, let alone treating patients after nurses and doctors went on strike last week.

They are protesting against deteriorating working conditions, poor wages, shortage of medicine and lack of personal protective equipment while performing their work.

A nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity said all health personnel at the institution was united in its demands for better their working conditions.

However, the unemployed nurses who pitched up Thursday insisted they will not tire in their attempts to seek approval to start attending to patients.

“ZYNA would like to offer voluntary nursing services in regard to the ongoing strike.

“Our organisation promotes and supports all government programmes and we can’t fold our hands and do nothing at a time the country needs our services most.

“We have written to the ministry clarifying our intentions waiting for their response,” said Portia Munengiwa, ZYNA Masvingo chapter coordinator.

Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamu said operations at the hospital have been affected by the strike.

“They are operating with a very thin staff complement as most nurses have gone on strike.

“The few available nurses are only attending to the most critical sections like the maternity ward where some care has to be given to expectant mothers at all cost,” said Shamu.

He further said only senior nurses were manning the maternity ward and other critical areas and there are no new patients were getting admitted.