Zimbabwe’s public hospital doctors and nurses went on strike Wednesday over what they called a lack of adequate protective gear as the coronavirus begins to spread in a country whose health system has almost collapsed.
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president, Tawanda Zvakada, said doctors were at “high risk” of contracting the virus.
“We will return to work only after the government has put adequate measures, including suitable clothing. Right now we are exposed and no one seems to care,” he said.
He said doctors have inadequate stocks of gloves, masks and gowns. The hundreds of doctors had returned to work in January after a four-month strike demanding better salaries and improved working conditions.
Similarly, The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZNA) has advised that its members are joining doctors in downing tools with immediate effect due to a number of reasons which include the absence of a coronavirus allowance from their employer, the Government.
The nurses also complain that there isn’t any protective clothing for their members in the public hospitals, exposing them to the risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus.
Another issue raised by the nurses, in a letter to Government issued Wednesday, is that facilities have no running water. They will only return to work on condition that their issues are addressed, the nurses say.
Zimbabwe has reported three cases of covid-19 and recorded its first death this week.