Harare – Zimbabwean doctors and nurses have downed tools with immediate effect due to incapacitation to deal with the Coronavirus epidemic, ENN reports.

In a letter addressed to Government, the doctors said that they do not have the necessary protective clothing and tools to safely work with on the forefront to fight Coronavirus. At the same time, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) has also downed tools under similar circumstances.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) had a meeting with government representatives on Monday in which they communicated their genuine grievances and fears for their lives concerning this deadly pandemic. On behalf of their members, ZHDA president Tawanda Zvakada highlighted to government authorities that after their emergency meeting with them on Monday, no official response has come from government to address their life threatening grievances, a position that has led to the downing of tools by their members to protect their lives.

In their circular to members dated 25 March 2020, ZINA said their presentation to the employer 48 hours ago, informing them to urgently attend to their demands as frontline workers are not getting the urgency they deserve. Consequently, all nurses have withdrawn their services with immediate effect until their concerns are swiftly acted upon, which include ensuring that (a) there is clean water at public hospitals (b) government avails personal protective equipment and (c) a COVID-19 risk allowance is given to nurses.

Since assuming office in August 2018, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo has come under pressure from medical practitioners who continue to demand for capacitation of Zimbabwe’s public health institutions. Zimbabwe’s health sector was once regarded as one of the best in Africa. Unfortunately today, the sector continues hog the limelight for all the bad reasons as epitomised by Doctors’ outpour of grievances during an 11 week strike which started on September 3, 2019. The medical practitioners were demanding salary increases in response to soaring living costs, as well as capacitation of their dilapidated public health institutions through retooling by their Government to allow for better service provision.

The latest developments in Zimbabwe’s public health sector come at a time the nation is exposed to Coronavirus and it would be the third time within 12 months for Zimbabwean Doctors to down tools, apparently for the same old reason of incapacitation.

Broadcaster Zororo Makamba, who succumbed to Coronavirus early this week, was buried on Tuesday at a family farm. His road to death as narrated by his brother paints a picture of a nation in denial and an ill-prepared Zimbabwean Government to deal with this deadly pandemic.

Zimbabwe recorded its third official case of Coronavirus yesterday, with a number of people under quarantine after interacting with infected persons. Meanwhile, it is alleged that a state of the art COVID-19 treatment centre is being set up in Harare to serve the political elites.

Time will tell.