Doctors, nurses’ fight escalates

HARARE – Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) has scoffed at the unrestrained attack by Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), describing the remarks as not representative of the doctors’ fraternity.

doctorsAt the centre of the fight is $1,5 million availed this January by Treasury to cover health sector employees’ allowances.

Nurses feel the money is being shared disproportionately with doctors getting the lion’s share and are now absconding night duties in protest.

However, doctors believe if Zina’s demands are met, their current allowances will be reduced.

Last Wednesday, Fortune Nyamande, the ZHDA president, described the demands by nurses as “petty”. In a hard-hitting news release issued last Wednesday, Nyamande said it “smacks of great ignorance and myopia for the leadership of Zina to call for the reduction of doctors’ salaries so as to increase the salaries of nurses”.

ZHDA represents over 300 doctors and Zina represents 18 000 nurses working in government health facilities.

Mugove Chipfurutse, Zina organising secretary, yesterday said Nyamande’s remarks were misguided and misplaced.

“We do not work for doctors but we work with doctors,” Chipfurutse told the Daily News.

“Our grievances are directed at our employer not Nyamande. We are saying, what we want is fair distribution of the $1,5 million by the Health Service Board (HSB) and I don’t see where he comes in.

“We wish them the best as they address their own problems within the parameters of their profession. As Zina, we fight our own wars and meet when we continue to serve the nation.”

According to Zina, nurses were receiving $12 as allowance, while those who work in offices from district, province and head office were earning around $400.

According to a circular released by Harare Central Hospital, the strike has stopped the hospital from accepting referral cases until nurses are back at work full time. Commenting on the on-going strike, Chipfurutse said nurses were not going to accept any piece-meal redress offered by the employer.

“We are no longer sure how long it will take for any remaining issues to be implemented if it took five years for the HSB to implement re-grading,” he said, indicating negotiations and consultations are continuing in the hope of a solution to the grievances.

The sector has generally been riddled by strikes.

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