Senior Health Reporter
Nurses could play a critical role in rallying Zimbabweans across the country to take the Covid-19 vaccines and help the country to reach herd immunity faster.
Over 70 percent of the health workers in the country are nurses who have access to millions of Zimbabweans who seek health services on a daily basis.
Zimbabwe yesterday joined the world in celebrating International Nurses Day, which was held in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic this year, highlighting the important role nurses play in health service delivery.
This year’s theme is “Nurses: A voice to lead-A vision for future healthcare”.
According to the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), the Government could leverage on this to cascade information on the vaccines to the millions of Zimbabweans who are yet to be vaccinated.
Zina president Mr Enoch Dongo said nurses had played a major role in the fight against Covid 19 and could be useful in driving the numbers in the vaccination programme.
“Nurses have been at the forefront in the fight against Covid 19 and they are also leading in the vaccination exercise. Nurses constitute 70 percent of the health workforce and if they are utilised to spread information about the vaccines in the communities they serve, they can make a huge difference. We can go out and speak with one voice to make sure Zimbabweans get vaccinated,” he said.
Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate 10 million people to reach herd immunity and so far, 539 526 people have received the vaccine.
Mr Dongo said: “We celebrate the hard work that the nurses do, especially in the past year. Nurses as front liners are tackling the pandemic and we want to thank them for the hard work. Zimbabwe is one of the most successful countries in managing the Covid 19 pandemic and rolling out the vaccination programme and this has been made successful by the nurses who are at the forefront.”
He said despite the difficult conditions that nurses were working under, they were still committed to providing the best care to the people.
Mr Dongo also urged Government to consider nurses who have taken their time to further their studies for other positions within the Ministry of Health and Child Care as they were also capable of leading.
“This is the time to recognise the efforts of these heroes and heroines. They have shown that they can do it and they are doing it. A nurse is a practitioner in their own right and it is high time that they are recognised for their hard work,” he added.
The nurses expressed their joy at being able to serve Zimbabweans and offering quality health care despite the numerous challenges they face.
Sister-in-charge at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Ratidzai Mandiwanzira said the nursing profession meant a lot to her.
“This day means a lot to me. I feel great that the whole world is recognising and appreciating the work nurses do. I have been a nurse for more than a decade. In the nursing profession you grow from being a student to a registered nurse and now I am the sister in charge having more responsibility especially educating other junior nurses. Self satisfaction after helping someone get well is a reward on its own,” she said. Mr Adrian Maposa, a student nurse at Parirenyatwa said the journey to being a nurse had been an amazing one.
“I have learnt a lot and followed my passion to become a nurse. When it comes to passion, gender doesn’t matter as long as one has the drive to help the patients. I look forward to offering the best service that I can. The passion goes beyond the gender issue because the force that is behind your decision has to surpass the challenges that you face when you are stigmatised,” he said.
Matron Martha Chinhondo also said that despite the Covid 19 pandemic, she was committed to keep her professional knowledge and skill at the highest level and to support other members of the health team.