BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
NURSE aides from across the country are up in arms with the Health ministry, after they were denied COVID-19 allowances paid to other health professionals.
The rest of the health workforce, except the nurse aides, has already received their COVID-19 allowances as per government’s pledge.
Nurse Aides Association of Zimbabwe president Sekai Ticky Watungira yesterday told NewsDay that his organisation’s members were aggrieved by the blatant “discrimination”of lower grade health workers.
“Nurse aides and general hands participated in the COVID-19 vaccination and screening programme. Government disbursed funds to everyone who took part in that programme.
Unfortunately, there is serious discrimination in the payment of allowances.
All lower grades (nurse aides) have been discarded and no one got even a cent, while others pocketed allowances ranging between $80 000 and $130 000,” he said.
He said nurse aides wanted the matter to be corrected.
“A good number of nurse aides lost their lives during the COVID-19 battle. This is not fair at all. As the representative of nurse aides, we are not going to remain silent on this issue.
“We are suspecting high-level corruption in the Ministry of Health,” Watungira said.
A leaked communiqué from a district medical officer (name withheld) to health facilities in his area stated that the district had received COVID-19 funds.
“May you ensure that you include all facility staff members, including environmental health technicians, nurse aides and general hands that assisted in COVID-19 vaccination,” the letter, dated November 3, 2021, read.
Watungira said he would submit their grievances to Health ministry secretary Jasper Chimedza.
Despite their immense role, nurse aides in Zimbabwe’s healthcare system continue to be sidelined and are grossly underpaid.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the scarcity of human resources in the health sector and nurse aides were the first port of call for most COVID-19 patients.