“Last year, we had agreed that instead of going for an imminent strike, we were going to work two days 12-hour shifts a week so that we use the remaining days to alleviate ourselves from the economic challenges.“However, on Monday last week the CEO issued a circular instructing nurses to go back to normal duties without even addressing our issues.“We are working at a health institution without resources. This is a very infectious environment, but we are forced to work without resources to protect ourselves from the infections.“We can be here as nurses, but without resources there is nothing we can do. We watch patients getting critical and dying every day. We understand there are no resources, but we want a system that is making an effort towards attaining resources,” Chidora said.
BUSINEES came to a halt at Mpilo Central Hospital yesterday morning when nurses staged a demonstration against management for allegedly forcing them to resume duties without addressing their plight.
Last year, nurses across the country resorted to work 12-hour shifts, twice a week, citing the biting economic conditions in the country.
The nurses said they opted for such a working arrangement to allow the government to address their grievances of incapacitation instead of going for a strike.
In a circular dated February 28, Mpilo Hospital chief executive officer Leonard Mabhandi said in line with directives from head office, nurses must, on the first week, work 11-hours for three days and on the second week, put in 11 hours at work for four days.
This would see nurses clocking 77-hours per week, and a total of 154 hours per month.
“May I advise that we comply with the attached directive from head office. I believe it is the last legal communication on flexible hours that we received,” Mabhandi said in the circular.
This did not go down well with the nursing staff at the hospital and yesterday, they demonstrated against the move and aired their grievances to acting CEO Thomas Nyikadzino.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) provincial chairperson Nicholas Chidora said it was regrettable that hospital management was regressing from an agreement they struck with the government without addressing their grievances.
Chidora said the memo was punitive to nurses yet other employees were doing flexible hours.
“So if the CEO wants to normalise the situation he should not only normalise it for nurses, but also for the entire hospital. At the end of the day it is not the presence of the nurses that matters, but the presence of resources that enable us to save lives.
“The theatre and the Intensive care Unit (ICU) are not functioning, but the administration is concerned about our presence, not provision of resources to run the hospital,” he added.
In response, Nyikadzino said the hospital has heard the nurses’ concerns and said the hospital would work towards addressing them.
Meanwhile, the nurses resolved to continue reporting for duty twice a week.