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Zimbabwe health workers strike amid COVID 19 pandemic

Country suffering severe economic meltdown for 2 decades

John Cassim  | 25.03.2020 - Update : 25.03.2020
Zimbabwe health workers strike amid COVID 19 pandemic

HARARE, Zimbabwe

Doctors and nurses in Zimbabwe have gone on strike because they can not get personal protective equipment (PPE) in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We have expressed to you the issue of PPE which is still not available. The way in which hospital is to be run still remains vague,” Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said in a statement. “Whilst you continue to run around putting things in place, we would like to make it clear to you in no uncertain terms that our members will not be able to continue carrying out their duties with immediate effect.”

The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) had similar complaints, citing a lack of protective clothing as the underlying factor behind the job action.

Nurses went further and demanded a risk allowance, considering the virus known as COVID-19 is highly contagious.

“So in that regard they are withdrawing their services with immediate effect until there is genuine action taken by the employer,” ZINA said.

Zimbabwe has been suffering from a severe economic meltdown for the past two decades, resulting in inadequate medicines and general hospital supplies.

Donations from China and the United Arab Emirates have helped but Zimbabwean hospitals have remained poorly stocked and without water in most cases.

While the government maintains that sanctions on top politicians are affecting economic reforms, the head of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission said graft is the cancer that has eroded all economic gains.

“It’s not sanctions but corruption that has taken this country to its knees,” Justice Loice Matanda Moyo, ZACC Commissioner said recently.

To date Zimbabwe has three confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 172 countries and regions.

Out of more than 441,000 confirmed cases globally, the death toll now nears 20,000, while an excess of 111,900 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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