Zimbabwe nurses call off strike after three months


Thousands of striking nurses on Wednesday called off their strike over pay and protective gear, three months after walking out of public hospital wards, their leader said.

Enock Dongo, president of the 15,000-member Zimbabwe Nurses Association, said they had decided to end the strike to allow the newly-appointed health minister an opportunity to attend to their complaints.

The country’s vice president, retired general Constantino Chiwenga, was last month appointed health minister.

He replaced Obadiah Moyo, who was sacked after being charged with corruption over the illegal awarding of a $20-million contract for coronavirus testing kits and protective gear.

“We have encouraged our members to return to work and give the new minister a chance,” Dongo told AFP.

“He wants us to start negotiating while going to work. We hope he will reciprocate by addressing our grievances,” he said.

The nurses downed tools in June over low pay amid galloping inflation – now hovering over 800 percent – which has eroded wages and salaries as the economy of the southern African country totters.

They also complained about inadequate protection equipment and being forced to recycle surgical face masks.

They were later joined in the strike by senior and junior doctors, who are still not back at work, leaving hospitals thinly staffed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.



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