NURSES at state-owned United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) have joined the doctors’ strike worsening the impact of the job action on the country’s struggling public health system.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nonhlanhla Ndlovu would neither confirm nor deny the development but told NewZimbabwe.com that “It is now a national issue. I am not in a position to comment.”
Sources however said the nurses made cited “failure by the government to take the doctors’ strike seriously”.
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association had Wednesday threatened to go on strike if the government does not meet the doctors’ demands.
Junior doctors earn less than $370 per month and want the salary, along with other conditions of service, improved.
They have also complained about lack of essential drugs in hospitals and vowed to continue with strike until their concerns are addressed.
The job action has seen public health institutions around the country being forced to turn patients away.
A woman from Chegutu whose eight-month-old baby has a heart condition and serious breathing difficulty told NewZimbabwe.com that was turned away at Harare Hospital on Wednesday.
Staff at hospital’s outpatient department told her to return when doctors resume duties although she only wanted a prescription to buy medication for her baby.
Meanwhile, MDC-T President Nelson Chamisa blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for the strike.
“President Mnangagwa cannot continue with his mantra that the country was open for business when it is not open for health,” Chamisa said after visiting Harare Hospital.
“The country’s medical staff work under very difficult conditions and the government has to prioritise the health of citizens.”