Nurses have accused the government of shifting goalposts whenever engagements that revolve around their remuneration are in motion.
In a statement to mark the International Nurses Day, Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) said the paltry salaries currently being offered to the health workers are a mockery of the sterling job which the health workers discharge.
“We implore our employer( government) to be sincere and dump the sickening penchant for shifting goalposts whenever engagements that revolve around remuneration are in motion. We sincerely urge our leaders to desist from insensitivity and hypocrisy. We demand remuneration which is in tandem or way above the poverty datum line. Morale has hit rock bottom in the health sector due to government insensitivity when it comes to the grievances of the health workers,” said ZINA.
ZINA also highlighted that the government should address the root cause of the brain drain in the health sector.
“As we commemorate this special day for the health workers, we are at pains due to the continuous brain drain currently obtaining in the sector. Specialist health workers continue to migrate from our nation to either regional or European nations in search of greener pastures. Our leadership should be alive to this sickening reality and move with speed to curb brain drain. Brain drain is now a festering nemesis that should be addressed before the quality of the health system is further compromised.
“We would like to urge all our members which include anesthetics, midwives, general nurses, psychiatrists, nurses, and even nurse aides to continue discharging their duties in a professional manner as we continue to thrive for excellence,” said ZINA.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said the world sincerely appreciates and celebrates all nurses in the African Region and thanks to them for their unwavering dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, nurses have made great sacrifices, acted courageously, and recommitted daily to tackle a global health threat that is unprecedented in modern times, serving as an indispensable pillar supporting African health care systems through some very challenging times.
According to WHO, African Region has long grappled with a severe shortage of nurses which, if left unaddressed, poses a significant threat to our progress toward Universal Health Coverage. According to the latest estimates, there are 1.6 million nurses and midwives across our 47 Member States.
A total of 66% of nurses have concentrated in six countries Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. Nigeria has the highest share of the headcount of nurses at 21%, followed by South Africa at 18%.