Most health personnel countrywide continued with their duties reporting for shifts on time since Friday, allaying fears of an industrial action as they wait to receive their December salaries, which Government says will be paid from tomorrow.
Last week, doctors and nurses had threatened to down tools on Friday over late payment of their salaries, but continued working after Government asked health institutions to provide transport allowances.
A snap survey by The Sunday Mail at various Hospitals such as Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Harare Central Hospital and Chitungwiza General Hospital showed that operations were going smoothly.
Patients and visitors who spoke to this publication testified that the situation was normal.
Mrs Gillian Masevenza who is one of the mothers who delivered a baby on New Year’s Day at Harare Central Hospital said, at the maternity ward, the situation was normal and they did not encounter any challenges.
“Here (maternity ward) we didn’t see any problems. We were well attended to and we are happy with the service because I delivered my baby without any problems. I am not sure what is happening elsewhere, but here everything is okay,” she said.
Harare Central Hospital acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Talkmore Matindife said there had been some confusion at the institution as some nurses did not turn up for duty on Friday, but the situation was under control. “The turnout is good, more nurses turned up for work today (yesterday) as compared to Friday when some personnel who were supposed to be on duty did not report for work,” he said.
“However I am happy to say the situation is improving and for those that are reporting for duty we are giving them transport fares as Government directed.”
At Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, nurses and doctors could be seen doing their rounds in the wards and casualty department.
At Chitungwiza Hospital, the situation was reported to be normal with the chief executive officer Obadiah Moyo saying buses ferried staff to work.
“All staff is at work. Transport is being provided to ferry staff to and from work,” he said.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association Secretary Mr Enock Dongo said it is business as usual at all hospitals in the country.
“We are attending our duties as usual, it’s our obligation to ensure that all patients are attended to and receive necessary treatment at all hospitals,” he said.
“We are grateful that the Government has intervened and is providing the transport fares depending on where one lives because a nurse from Ruwa who works lets say Harare Hospital cannot be given the same bus fare as the one who lives in Belvedere. Yes, we urgently need our salaries but we are suggesting that transport fares should have gone to buy some medicines for the patients since we don’t want to wait for drugs and other hospital pharmaceuticals.”
There were fears last week that employees in the health sector would resort to striking after treasury shifted their pay dates from December 29, 2015 to tomorrow. The doubts, however, died down after Government ordered all hospitals to provide workers with transport or bus fares between January 1 and 5.
In an interview, secretary for Health and Childcare Ministry Dr Gerald Gwinji said the situation at most hospitals was normal
“The situation in all hospitals throughout the country is normal, people have turned up for work,” he said.
“There were slight disturbances at Harare Hospital yesterday (Friday) but the situation is normal now. As for bus fares, we never gave a fixed fee because we instructed the institutions to come up with a figure which suits different individuals, depending with where they live. We also hope that they will receive their salaries on Monday (tomorrow) as promised by treasury.” Treasury has been battling to raise enough money to meet its obligation due to low revenue inflows as a result of reduced economic activities.
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