ZIMNA UK in tribute to health workers who died from Covid-19

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

The Zimbabwe Midwives and Nurses Association UK (ZIMNA-UK) will on May 28 hold a memorial service for health workers who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

ZIMNA UK was formed in 2021 to provide support to health workers who survived Covid-19.

According to the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, at least 30 Zimbabwean nurses and other medical staff died of Covid-19.

The service, supported by Diaspora Insurance, will be held at the Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa in Leicestershire.

Speakers include Pastor Zendera and Evangelist Mutema, with testimonies from families who lost their loved ones who were serving on the frontline, and health professionals will share their experiences in the pandemic.

Admission into the memorial service dubbed ‘Commemoration and celebration in remembrance of our Zimbabwean community and health workers who died during Covid-19’ is pegged at £20 per head.

Virtual memorial services were held due to Covid-19 restrictions, and this is the first time ZIMNA UK members will physically gather for the commemorations.

Live performances and dinner will be offered after the service.

President of ZIMNA-UK, Jesca Gudza, said during the service, the association will “pay tribute to those who lost their lives and support the affected families, and continue to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on the population.”

During the pandemic, the ZIMNA UK has been providing bereavement support, advice, training and integration to its members.

Dr Sibert Mandega, Executive Director of Diaspora Insurance said, “Diaspora Insurance is excited to partner with the Zimbabwe Midwives and Nurses Association (ZiMNA) in the UK. Nurses and midwives, especially foreign ones, play a crucial role in the delivery of healthcare services in this country, but the sad thing is that their contribution is not appreciated in this country. This is evidenced by the very low proportion of foreign trained nurses, especially from Africa, who are in any managerial positions, whether junior or senior. As long as you are black and from Africa, forget about senior management in the NHS. This is why we are supporting organisations like ZiMNA-UK and are encouraging all nurses and midwives from Zimbabwe who are working in the UK to join ZiMNA. There is more power in numbers. If we speak with one voice and start to demand the recognition we deserve, we will see a lot of changes in the workplace.”

He added, “The inordinate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on black and brown healthcare professionals in this country speaks volumes about the inequalities and discrimination in this country.

“Diaspora Insurance has been collaborating and supporting programs and events hosted by Kenya Nurses and Midwives Association (KENMA), Ghana Union and the Malawi Nurses Association to commemorate those who lost their lives during the pandemic. We encourage all nurses and midwives to attend the event in Leicester on the 28th of May, commemorating our brothers and sisters who passed away during the pandemic”.

He also wishes that ZiMNA collaborates with other associations of foreign trained nurses in the UK to increase their bargaining power at the workplace.