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Health workers seek Chiwenga meeting

CHENGETAI ZVAUYA

Health workers have demanded a meeting with the newly appointed Health minister and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to resolve the wage dispute which has paralysed the sector amid a rise in Covid-19 positive cases.

Health professionals have been on strike since June protesting against the absence of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and low salaries that have been eroded by inflation.

Aaron Masara, secretary general of the Senior Hospital Doctors’ Association, said the senior doctors wanted the new minister Chiwenga, his deputy John Mangwiro and new permanent secretary Jasper Chimedza to be fully briefed on what has been happening and resolve the impasse that has affected the sector.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed Chiwenga and Chimedza as minister and permanent secretary respectively.

The ministry has been operating without a minister and permanent secretary.

Obediah Moyo was last month fired as Health minister for “conduct inappropriate for a government minister” following his arrest in June on corruption allegations involving the procurement of Covid-19 PPEs.

“We have a lot of matters we want to inform the minister so that he can appreciate what has been going on in the ministry as our matters were never addressed by the former minister,” Masara said.

He said the issue of salary that has yet to be addressed and is not yet fully agreed on and doctors are concerned by the lack of PPEs in public hospitals.

The health professionals argue that they need adequate PPEs so that they are not exposed to Covid-19.

The doctors and nurses are demanding to be paid in foreign currency arguing that their local currency salary has been eroded by inflation.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enock Dongo said nurses are being exposed to the Covid -19 as they were working with no protective clothing and were also expecting the new minister of health to address the matter as a matter of urgency.

Over 200 doctors and nurses have tested positive to Covid-19.

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