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Nurse Unions Hail Members For Risking Lives Fighting COVID-19

Nurse unions have hailed their members for the work they have done and risk they face everyday fight to save lives since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement to mark the World Nurses day, Zimbabwe Urban, Rural Council of Nurses Union (ZURCNU) and the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) told a local publication that as a result of their work, thousands of nurses got infected by COVID-19, while others succumbed to the deadly disease.

He added that some of their former members who toiled for the profession for years and now in retired are struggling to access to health care due to incapacitation.

“We have cases of retired nurses who can no longer afford healthcare when they need it. Some have been denied entry in hospitals, while others eventually died without ever getting help. That is disappointing as they would have toiled for years saving lives,” he said.

“We are appealing to stakeholders to help in making this day a future celebration, where we will recognize the nurses who work beyond their normal working hours and go beyond in saving lives,” he said.

Tafirenyika said it was saddening that their salaries were not commensurate with their roles resulting in many wallowing in poverty.

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“Council nurses are also leaving in droves to take up positions abroad where they are recognized and paid well. Nurses’ plight has been an eyesore for years and the perpetual industrial actions are an indication of how terrible their situation is. Their absence was felt when they downed tools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and clinics were left paralyzed and patients suffered greatly,” Tafirenyika said.

ZINA president Enock Dongo said one of the main challenges that they faced while caring for COVID-19 patients was lack of adequate personal protective equipment.

“Nurses have selflessly carried out their duties in the face of a dreadful disease and that is remarkable. We want to celebrate their bravery for the hard work despite the glaring lack of recognition,” said Dongo.

“From the clinics right up to central level, nurses are the first port of call for patients. Successful management of COVID-19 was executed by nurses and even now the ongoing vaccination is being driven by these cadres. However, nurses are not even considered for key positions in the (Health) ministry and will remain on the periphery,” he added.

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