Home International News Zimbabwe health dept fires thousands of striking nurses

Zimbabwe health dept fires thousands of striking nurses

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Service will not be compromised, says the health minister, as there are thousands of recently graduated nurses and retired who can replace them.

File image. Picture: AP Photo/David Goldman

Zimbabwe’s health minister denied Wednesday that the country’s hospitals will now be understaffed after about 16,000 striking nurses were sacked.

There are thousands of recently graduated nurses who can replace those fired on Tuesday, David Parirenyatwa assured dpa, adding other nurses would also be brought out of retirement.

“The Health Services Board has been instructed by the government to speedily engage all unemployed but trained nurses in the country. The board has also been authorised to recall retired nursing staff into the service,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga – who led the military coup that overthrew long-time leader Robert Mugabe last year – announced the firing of all striking nurses on Tuesday.

The nurses had been on strike over poor working conditions and remuneration

Chiwenga called the industrial action “both deplorable and reprehensible” in a statement Tuesday, pointing to the fact that the government had agreed a day previously to transfer (US)$17 114 446 to the Ministry of Health and Child Care for the striking nurses.

“The prompt transfers which have been effected against demonstrable economic challenges facing our nation has not, quite surprisingly, persuaded the striking nurses to go back to their work stations,” he added.

“Government has decided, in the interest of patients and of saving lives, to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect.”

The nurses’ union released a defiant statement on Wednesday saying: “Nothing has changed thus far with regards to the industrial action which is ongoing.”

dpa