The ongoing nurses’ strike entered its third day this morning with health professionals at Parirenyatwa Hospital picketing amid growing concern over the delay by government to meet health workers’ demands.
Surprisingly, there was no mentioning of the ongoing health crisis at yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing raising fears that authorities could be downplaying the appalling state of affairs at the country’s health institutions.
However, reports suggest that negotiators from both the nurses’ side and government continue to seek common ground over salaries’ increment.
Last week, government workers scoffed at a 100 percent wage hike offer by their employer which would still see the lowest paid worker earning less than ZWL$ 40 000 which translates to just US$ 70 using the parallel market rate of 650/USD.
Meanwhile patients remain the biggest losers in the current standoff between government and its health workers.
This morning, the Women for Economic and Social Empowerment (WESE) expressed concern over the ongoing crisis which it said was posing danger to women’s access to maternal services from public health facilities
“As WESE we are therefore stunned with the government’s lack of commitment to resolving the impasse with health workers. Health is a right guaranteed in terms of Section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and failure by the government to ensure smooth functioning of the sector constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights,” said WESE.
It said demands from the nurses are justified as they relate to livelihoods and the need for basic equipment and drugs to use in clinics and hospitals.
“It is inconceivable that government would claim to have a budget surplus while failing to adequately pay its workers. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and women with chronic illnesses are the most exposed to the ongoing incapacitation.
“Furthermore, lack of access to health services affects women’s overall socio-economic well-being, resulting in reversals to gains made in women empowerment drive over the years.”