DESPERATE retired and unemployed graduate nurses yesterday thronged various public hospitals throughout the country to register for recruitment after the government this week fired all striking nurses following a deadlock in salary negotiations.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/SHINGIRAI VAMBE/Sindiso Dube
Bulawayo’s Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Solwayo Ngwenya said the recruitment exercise was progressing well.
“Recruitment to fill the gap of about 150 to 200 nurses who were discharged from their duties has started and unemployed nurses are rushing to register. Tomorrow (today) we will be taking experienced nurses and midwives from the retired ones,” he said.
This came as the situation at most public hospitals remained dire, with skeleton staff which comprised student nurses and medical staff seconded by the military attending only critical cases with most patients being turned away.
At Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals, some critical departments such as paediatric casualty and intensive care units were closed.
Rusape district medical officer Tendai Lincon Nyafesa said the nurse aides and general hands were getting overwhelmed and showing signs of fatigue.
Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina) president Simangaliso Mafa insisted that the nurses would continue on strike until the government has addressed their grievances.
“There are no changes from the previous update,” he said.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson Elasto Mugwadi said the commission had dispatched its officers to various hospital to assess the impact of the strike.
“We have got officers who have been on the ground and we should be issuing a statement tomorrow (today). We are also attempting to engage government,” he said.
But the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) has distanced itself from the ongoing nurses’ strike.
“We acknoledge nurses as colleagues, but we have no business meddling in their issues with the employer. They have a different association which knows their welfare better than us. Having said that, any statements suggesting that ZHDA is involved in the current strike are entirely false, and any party saying otherwise is saying so in their own capacity independent of Zimbabwean doctors,” ZHDA the said in a statement.