Fired Zimbabwe nurses offer free health care to public in protest

Fired Zimbabwe nurses offer free health care to public in protest

Over 16,000 Zimbabwe nurses who were sacked offered free health services to the public in a demonstration outside the Parliament on Friday.

“We are doing this to show that we are for the people,” Pretty Mugudza, a nurse based at Harare Central Hospital, told CNN after addressing members of the public who had gathered at Africa Unity Square adjacent to Zimbabwe’s parliament building.

“All we are asking for are better working conditions. We can’t be looking at patients dying in hospitals because we have no resources,” she said.

“We really want to work, but we have been barred from entering our work stations,” she added.

The nurses went on strike Monday to press for improved allowances and irregular salary grading system, its union said.

They were later fired by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who claimed they refused to go resume work even after $17million (Ksh. 1.7billion) was released to improve their pay.

The government said the decision to sack the striking nurses would not be reversed.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told CNN on Thursday government has ordered heads of hospitals to recruit new nurses to replace those sacked. “We aren’t going back on fired nurses. But they are free to apply if they still want to work,” he said.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association urged members to disregard the dismissals. The vice president had no power to sack them, the union said in statement Wednesday.

“For the record, our members have not received any letters terminating their services. They, therefore, remain employed by the Health Services Board,” the nurses union said.