By Gamuchirayi Kandeya and Llyoyd Takawira
A crisis has arisen as Harare run clinics nurses have downed tools citing incapacitation, raising fears of a health disaster as both government and council-run institutions have withdrawn staff from hospitals and clinics.
The strike becomes a nail in the coffin for the country’s health sector as patients were relying on council clinics, usually manned by nurses and nurse aides, for better services as government hospitals were failing to do so in the absence of the doctors.
Patients from Wilkins Hospital were ferried to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital on Monday.
“We are not admitting new patients at Nazareth but we still have those moved from Wilkins yesterday being treated.
Meanwhile, in an ultimatum that was released today the 5th of November by the Harare City Council through the Human Capital Acting Director Rt Major M Marara , Harare City council has ordered council nurses to report for duty as soon as possible.
“…may l make it clear the action that has been taken by these nurses participating in solidarity with the call by ZURCNWU is clearly illegal job action as defined by the council’s code of conduct and accordingly, appropriate disciplinary action is being taken against participants of this so-called incapacitation movement …”
Harare city council nurses under the banner of Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Nurses Workers Union (ZURCNWU) have gone on an industrial action effective 4 November 2019 citing incapacitation owing to poor remuneration.
However, their employer is having none of it as the City council management is claiming a legitimate trade union for the council nurses is in the process of negating with the council.
“….accordingly all members participating in this so-called incapacitation exercise are instructed to terminate the illegal job action and immediately report for duty as soon as the possible failure to which disciplinary shall be instructed forthwith …”
City Health Director, Prosper Chonzi confirmed the situation at Harare run council’s clinics and hospitals and expressed fear for the increased loss of life. “If the situation continues like this, there will be a lot of mortalities because our patients are really stranded. Our municipal hospital cannot sustain this situation,” said Chonzi.