With the raging coronavirus wreaking havoc during its second wave the last thing the people of Zimbabwe need is striking frontline workers. On Thursday nurses from several government hospitals downed tools for the umpteenth time. This time around they were complaining about inadequate personal protective equipment. The PPE complaint came after one of the matrons at Harare Hospital passed away after contracting COVID-19. There were also reports that scores of nurses had tested positive for COVID-19.

It seems the strike has now ended after the government acquiesced to the nurses’ requests. This was confirmed by Enoch Dongo Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president:

Authorities agreed to draft another duty roster with fewer health workers at any given time which will be effective starting Monday next week. This will result in nurses decongesting health institutions. Also, it helps the number of nurses that will be exposed to the deadly virus at any given time.

Most importantly, the government is not in a capacity to provide enough PPE if all nurses report for duty at once, but if we revert back to the flexible working hours, the government will be able to provide the required PPE to all the fewer nurses who will be on duty.

It seems the nurses are happy with the compromise for now and will start reporting for duty. The case of lack of equipment and medicine has severely impacted the country’s ability to respond to the second wave that has hit Zimbabwe. According to the Ministry of Health’s latest information release, the country had the following cases and deaths:

  • New cases: 985
  • Locals: 984
  • Returnees: 1 [from Zambia]
  • Deaths: 22
  • Recoveries: 101
  • National Recovery Rate: 62.4%
  • Active Cases: 7 008
  • Total Cumulative Cases: 19 660
  • Total Recoveries: 12 184
  • Total Deaths: 468