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Zimbabwe’s nurses return to work after nearly three months of industrial action

HARARE (The Southern African Times) – Nurses working in Zimbabwe government health institutions began returning to work on Wednesday after nearly three months of industrial action, following a call by their leaders to report for duty.

The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) on Tuesday urged its members to return to their stations immediately, saying they wanted to give the government a chance to address their grievances.

The nurses had been on strike since June 18 demanding better working conditions.

The new stance follows the government’s restructuring of the health ministry and pledges to improve nurses’ conditions of service.

ZINA secretary-general Enock Dongo told media that they had communicated with their members to start reporting for duty if they could raise money for transport.

He said the restructuring of the ministry had been long overdue, but implored the government to consult widely.

“We advocated the restructuring of the ministry long back and this will enable our health system to meet international standards.

“We have the expertise to do all the clinical services but the structure which the ministry was operating under was wrong. It demotivated staff and there were no efficient services,” he said.

A source at the country’s largest referral center, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, told SAT on Wednesday that the nurses had returned to work but were staging a sit-in.

“Maybe they just want to mark themselves present at their stations without doing any work,” he said.

It is reported that junior doctors also reaffirmed that they were not on industrial action and were supporting the newly streamlined operations of the health ministry.

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