LOBBYING for salaries from Higher Life Foundation (HLF), Strive Masiyiwa’s humanitarian organisation says they are currently seized with “assisting significantly in transportation of nurses.”
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This response comes as Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Mr Enock Dongo called on HLF to intervene with salaries as done with the doctors.
Speaking to HealthTimes, HLF CEO Dr Kennedy Mubaiwa said they are working on roping in Vaya transportation for nurses at Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
“So with the nurses what we’ve done which probably people are not aware of is that of all the tertiary institutions, Harare Hospital, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, UBH, Mpilo and I have just been speaking to a lady from Chitungwiza. What we are doing for nurses is that we want to help them with transport.
“If we exclude Chitungwiza which will kick off as soon as we complete arrangement, all these other four, if I talk about Pari for example, nurses at work there are being picked up by Vaya from central town to Parirenyatwa. That’s early in the morning for day shifts. And when the VAYA transport gets to the hospital, those coming from shift coming to an end are picked up to town,” he said.
He explained the transportation costs per nurse was ZW$9 000. “If we take that on its own per nurse that’s almost ZW$9 000 per month just in transport. So that is the step we have taken to at least remove the burden of nurses being able to make it to work,” said Dr Mubaiwa.
Dr Mubaiwa explained they intervened on the doctors’ side after seeing the high mortality rate witnessed during their industrial action.
“And then with regards to any other assistance for the doctors, we had to go and…our drive for us to assist the doctors with a fellowship was for us to address the issue of people dying in our hospitals.
“We wanted to just make sure that people get to a hospital and are able to be seen by a doctor and then we don’t lose people because some of the things causing death were things that if a doctor was available it would have been avoided. And that is the process that we have taken. At the moment for now that is our intervention in assisting in the health space,” he said.
He added that they have been in the country intervening at critical moments for the past 20 years.
“But also with the doctors what we also need to understand which people need to be aware of is that as HigherLife we have been assisting doctors for a very long time. You know 2008 when there was a cholera outbreak it coincided with another strike by the health workers and we assisted.We assisted nurses to come back to work so that we could help with the cholera challenge.
“Around the same time the medical school almost closed down. We also helped by ensuring that we paid for every student that was at medical school at the time to make sure that those in final year could finish their exams and those supposed to write any other exam.
“So our assistance in the health space is more than 20 years in Zimbabwe. The cholera outbreak of 2018 we have been assisting. As and when we can, we are definitely going to be assisting,” said the HLF CEO.
Meanwhile, cumulatively there are over 1 800 doctors who applied for the 6 month HLF Fellowship.
“The first cohort or group that applied in 2019, we had 365 doctors applying. This time around we have got 1524 doctors applying. By the time we would have awarded the scholarships, we believe that more than 1 800 doctors will be on the HigherLife Foundation fellowship for the next six months,” said Dr Mubaiwa.