HEALTH lobby groups have lambasted government for sacking nurses for engaging in job a action demanding improved working conditions and remuneration.
Vice president Constantino Chiwenga fired the nurses this Tuesday, two days after they downed tools, saying the healthcare professionals were making unreasonable demands at a time government is financially crippled.
However, Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers (ZLHR) and Zimbabwe Association of Doctors Association (Zadhr) said the development makes the right to health a nullity and exposes patients to avoidable human errors.
The nurses strike came barely a month after another crippling three-week strike by doctors who eventually got a pay raise.
“Zadhr and ZLHR condemn this dangerous and irresponsible response by the Government as illogical. It will have serious consequences on the welfare of people who have been condemned to be attended to by some inexperienced and or retired nurses,” said the organisations in a joint statement this Wednesday.
“Therefore, ZADHR and ZLHR call upon government to revoke the dismissal of the nurses and reinstate them to their positions and urgently respond to the concerns raised by the health practitioners.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike added; “We need to address the root causes of the perennial job action, threatening to fire the nurses will not address the concerns at hand but will only escalate the crisis.
“Government should give autonomy and resources to the Health Services Board so that they can address the conditions of service of health workers as per regional standards.”
Responding to the sacking the Zimbabwe Nurses Association urged their members this Wednesday to remain calm as the leadership engages government on way forward.
The right to health in Zimbabwe remains elusive amid poor funding by the government, poor employee morale, drug shortages, inadequate equipment and under staffing.
Activists have blamed it on an ignorant government which is divorced from the realities of the population and stuffed by political elites who seek treatment overseas.