GOVERNMENT has re-engaged fired nurses and hired more health practitioners in a development that is expected to improve service delivery at the country’s health institutions.
The Health Services Board (HSB) fired nearly 6 000 nurses last week, but Government has since resolved to re-engage them and also hire more.
Striking nurses were issued with dismissal letters after they refused to go back to work even though their employer had acceded to their demands and availed more than $17 million for their allowances.
Authorities at hospitals in Bulawayo yesterday said the re-engagement of the fired nurses came as a relief as they had shut down some of their departments due to the absence of nurses.
They also thanked Government for giving them the green light to employ more nurses.
Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya yesterday said all fired nurses reported for work yesterday after writing letters to be re-admitted by the Government while 110 more nurses will be hired.
“Our nurses were in 100 percent attendance today. All those who were on strike reported for duty. We’re therefore opening the outpatients department tomorrow.
“The Government has also given us the green light to employ 110 additional nurses to complement our nursing staff.
“This is definitely good news for us and we’re thankful to the Government,” said Dr Ngwenya.
Ingutsheni Hospital chief executive officer Mr Ernest Manyawu also confirmed that all nurses who were on strike are back at work.
“All the nurses who had joined the industrial action are back at work. In addition to the nurses who are back at work, Government has allowed us to hire 31 more nurses.
“This is a positive development because we’ve always had shortage of nurses,” said Mr Manyawu.
In a post on the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s twitter page, Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji said the ministry will conduct an orientation programme for the recruited nurses before they start work.
“There will be an orientation for the nurses who have not been practising, we have set up teams to do that and immediately after being absorbed they will commence their work,” said Dr Gwinji.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) secretary general Mr Enock Dongo said all nurses are back at work, with Government expected to announce a date to start negotiations.
“Most nurses have gone back to work and none of our members had problems. Our demands still stand because they have not been fulfilled. We’re now waiting for the Government to tell us when the negotiations will start.
“Nurses play a pivotal role in the country’s health delivery system but the Government has continued to ignore their concerns,” said Mr Dongo.
Nurses downed tools on Monday last week demanding a review of their remuneration and working conditions.