Nurses break for lunch at a local government hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s biggest nurses union said on Wednesday it was encouraging its members to end a pay strike which started in June and which forced major hospitals to turn away patients at a time the country is fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Inflation is running above 800%, reviving memories of the hardships of more than a decade ago when hyperinflation wiped out savings and pensions.
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), which has more than 16,000 members, called for the strike to force President Emmerson Mnanagwa’s government to pay US dollar salaries, but authorities say they are unable to do so.
The strike by nurses and senior doctors has crippled public hospitals, with non-emergency patients turned away and some babies stillborn due to lack of adequate medical care.
ZINA president Enoch Dongo said nurses wanted to give Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who was in August appointed health minister, a chance to resolve the dispute.
“When you have a crisis sometimes you need to give people a chance to resolve it. After sometime we will review this decision,” Dongo said.
“So we are telling our members to report for work but only if they have transport money and if there is PPE in hospitals.”
Dongo said the lowest paid nurse earned 6,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($73) in salary and allowances monthly. The state statistical agency says an average family of five needs at least 15,573 Zimbabwe dollars to be not considered poor.
Chiwenga has said the government would soon table a pay offer for the health sector and stop paying medical bills for cabinet ministers and senior officials who seek treatment abroad to save on scarce foreign exchange.
Zimbabweans are growing impatient with Mnangagwa, who promised to revive the economy when he took over from Robert Mugabe after a coup in 2017. Mnangagwa says the economy is being sabotaged the opposition and some Western countries.
Zimbabwe’s failure to keep its cricket free from government interference has resulted in it being suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC).
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accepted an unusual demand to live stream her meeting with representatives from Bengal’s medical colleges after the striking junior doctors made this a pre-condition to meet the chief minister at the state secretariat.
The Israeli military says it has struck a Hamas tunnel in the Gaza Strip, after activists fired a rocket into southern Israel overnight. Thursday’s army statement says fighter jets targeting “underground infrastructure
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The basic health screening with 47 tests include CBC, uric acid, diabetic screening with HBA1C, estimated blood glucose, liver screening with ALT, AST, GGT, alkaline phosphatase, total protein, total bilirubin, lipid profile and different kidney tests.
The NCM appealed to the public to be careful and exercise caution while driving during the rain, as well as when the horizontal visibility is not clear, due to rain and winds that raise dust and dirt.