Striking nurses are yet to meet the new Minister of Health and Child Care, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga as their industrial action entered the third month.
Nurses across the county downed tools in June demanding better working conditions, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and salaries in United States dollars.
This Tuesday marks day 62 of their industrial action yet the issue of withdrawal from labour has not been attended to, despite the recent appointments in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed his deputy Chiwenga to oversee the ministry while Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza became the Permanent Secretary in the same ministry.
In an interview with CITE, President of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) Enoch Dongo confirmed nurses were still waiting for an engagement with the new minister.
“We hope something official will happen and we understand from hearsay that there might be an engagement to discuss issues affecting nurses,” he said.
Dongo expressed optimism that such a meeting will take place because the nurses’ concerns were legitimate and needed to be addressed.
“This is not about taking radical action but a genuine need for professional address. There is nothing at all to fear or be worried about. In fact, we are happy that when we do engage we will be doing so with the presidium,” said the ZINA president.
“We will be engaging with the presidium straightaway than before when we engaged with others and we didn’t know if they did take our concerns up. Now we are really sure we are going to be engaging with the presidium, hopefully we will reach the answer that we want.”
Dongo noted the government has a duty to protect human life and guarantee health services to its citizens, who were affected by “the non-functioning health sector and people potentially needlessly dying in their homes.”
Meanwhile, ZINA welcomed reports that some of the striking nurses who had been removed from payroll have since been reinstated.
“We remain fortified that our demands are reasonable and it is up to our employer to meet them if it wants us back at work. Our health and capacitation cannot be negotiated away from us,” he said.