Harare City Clinics Hit By Massive Resignations As Nurses Flee For Greener Pastures

ALL is not well in most City of Harare run health institutions following a massive exodus of nurses and healthcare workers at the back of ill-treatment and poor living and working conditions, HealthTimes has learnt.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to information gathered by this publication, the  City of Harare salaries department could be sitting on a stockpile of resignation letters while only a handful have since been processed.

Investigations done by this publication indicate that to date, nurses who have resigned as from 14 July 2020 when they embarked on strike due to poor remuneration and lack of Personal protective Equipment (PPE) is now plus or minus 60 Registered General Nurses, Midwives and Sisters In-charge with Mbare Poly being the hardest amidst indications that at least 90 % of the Sisters In-charge have since resigned during the mentioned period.

In an interview, the Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union president Simbarashe Tafirenyika told this publication that  most of the resigning nurses are joining local Non Governmental Organizations while some are leaving for foreign countries.

It is true, council nurses are resigning in their numbers and they are being taken by a local Non-Governmental Organsation (NGO) called Zim-TECH where they are being given above US$800.00 which is way above the paltry salary being given to nurses by Council. The organization is also working with the City of Harare in the council clinics.

“The NGO is absorbing the nurses and they have got experience because they did advanced courses in managing clinics and hospitals. Those who have resigned are now above 50 and they are working in the clinics but under a different employer,” said Tafirenyika.

He added that there was confusion regarding the remuneration of nurses working in council health institutions as nurses have not been receiving their Pay advises and pay slips for more than five months and they have also gone for two months without pay.

“What happened is sometime in September and November 2020, there was a collective bargaining meeting in the Harare municipality City undertaking whereby the authorities proposed to increase basic salaries for nurses and all council health workers while in the process freezing all allowances.

“Transport allowance is now about RTGS$400.00 which is about US$4 which is not even enough to cover for transport. Currently people are not getting Pay Slips and pay advises. There is no fixed salary, sometimes the money comes through as RTGS$13,000.00 at times it comes as RTGS$12,000.00 or even less than that. Nurses are now confused they don’t even know much they earn anymore and this is an unfair labor practice not to give a person a Pay advise.”

He however said while some nurses were resigning and joining the local NGO, other donor partners have also come to the rescue of some Poly Clinics but the absorption of nurses by the NGOs and donor organisations was further demoralising other council nurses who are still earning peanuts while their counterparts whom they are still sharing workstations with are earning meaningful salaries in United States Dollars terms.

“We have also learnt that some donors have come through and injected some funding in some Poly Clinics. They however chose only Six Poly Clinics namely Mabvuku, Hatfiled, Mbare Poly, Kuwadzana, Highfield Poly and Glenview. This is demolarising some other health workers in the remaining 46 Clinics out of the 52 Clinics and two hospitals under the City Council.

“These people have the same qualifications either in Midwifery or General Nursing or others but they are being divided because of this disparity. The nurses are now being divided; the nurses working in the Six Poly Clinics are getting US$75 per month from the partner and the Lower cadres are getting US$30 as allowances while their counterparts under the City of Harare payroll are getting an equivalent of US$4 as allowance. There should be equitable distribution of funds in al the clinics.  This is now causing despondency within the institutions,” said Tafirenyika.

He also said most nurses who are still under Council’s payroll are now dragging their feet and protesting quietly, a situation which could threaten the healthcare service delivery system.

Meanwhile, efforts to get a comment from the Harare City Health  director and acting town clerk Dr Proposer Chonzi were fruitless as he had not responded to our inquiry by the time of publishing.

 

 

 

 

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