Zimbabwe medical doctors have downed tools citing the unavailability of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to guard against the deadly Covid-19.
In a statement president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, Dr. Tawanda Zvakada said their grievance over PPE have not been met and they fear for their lives.
“Pursuant to the meeting we had on Monday 23 March 2020. In which we communicated to you our genuine grievances and expressed our fears concerning this deadly pandemic which has not spared healthcare workers as well.
“We expected an urgent response in writing from your office which has not come up until now. We have expressed to you the issue of PPE which is still not yet available. The way in which the Hospital is to be functioning still remains vague,” read the statement
Zvakada said their members will not be able to carry out duties under the current conditions.
“Whilst you continue to run around putting things in place we would like to make it clear in no uncertain terms that our members will not be able to continue carrying out their duties with immediate effect.
“Any inconveniences caused regarding this position we have taken is sincerely regrettable but it was necessitated by a communication breakdown between the top management and frontline doctors. Given the urgency of the matter and the need for social distancing a hard copy version of the same letter will be hand delivered when the conditions are permissive,” he said
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) have also downed tools over the same grievances.
This was revealed by ZPNU secretary general Douglas Chikobvu who said they had given the government 48 hours ultimatum which has since lapsed.
“We as nurses have agreed to withdraw our services forthwith. The umbrella body that represent all health workers (nurses included) gave the government a 48 hour ultimatum which has expired today. Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) has urged all nurses to temporarily withdraw our services till our demands for Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment is availed, Corona Risk Allowance, sanitisers,” Chikobvu said
He said the PPE are part of tools that capacitate them against the disease therefore they will not return to work until their demands are met.
“These demands are genuine, clear since they bare part of our tools of trade that capacitate us to adequately fight against this global epidemic. We urge fellow citizens to take all the necessary precaution, adhere to all hygiene measures, stay at home, avoid milling around towns and cities and avoid unnecessary movements. We will only return for duty until our demands as nurses are addressed,” he said