Wed | Jun 29, 2022

Nurses at Zimbabwe’s public hospitals strike for better pay

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2022 | 11:09 AM
Health workers led by nurses take part in a demonstration over salaries, at Parerenyatwa Hospital in Harare, Tuesday, June 21, 2022. A strike by health workers has left Zimbabwe's major hospitals in near paralysis, putting further strain on a public health system already in a dire state. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Striking nurses and other health workers have brought Zimbabwe's government hospitals to a near standstill, straining a once vibrant public health system now plagued by a lack of medicines and basic supplies such as gloves.

The health professionals stopped working Monday after rejecting the government's offer of a 100% pay rise which they say is inadequate to meet their needs amid skyrocketing inflation of 130%.

Health workers want to be paid in United States dollars because salaries in local currency are being eroded by inflation, Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enock Dongo said. Most health workers are taking home less than $200 a month, he said.

“We are hungry … the situation is no longer sustainable. Health workers are walking to work because they can't afford bus fares. Everything is benchmarked in US dollars except our salaries,” said Dongo.

Dozens of nurses in uniform, some doctors wearing stethoscopes around their necks and other health workers marched, sang and chanted at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, one of the country's largest public hospitals.

Others carried placards reading “Bring back our dignity.”

Similar strikes were taking place at other hospitals across the country, said Dongo.

Desperate patients sat in the hospital parking lot or on the hospital grounds with little hope of getting help.

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