Striking Doctors and nurses receive threatening calls

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Striking doctors and nurses have allegedly been receiving threats from anonymous people, trying to force them to return to work.

Health workers, including nurses, downed tools three months ago demanding salaries in United States dollars and the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid coronavirus infection.

They were joined by senior doctors a month ago and the government has so far failed to convince them to return to work.

“Some of our colleagues received phones calls from shadowy characters, who threatened them,” said a nurse from one of Harare’s major public hospitals.

“Many are scared and because it has been too long, most will turn up for work.”

A senior doctor said the government was now using unorthodox means to try and force them to return to work.

“It is unfortunate that our employer, instead of addressing our issues is now resorting to threats,” said the Hararebased doctor, who requested to remain anonymous.

“We are always in debt, always behind in rentals.

“Why did we waste all those years studying medicine?
“We should be looking after our parents, but instead they continue to feed us.”

When junior doctors embarked on a four-month-long strike last year, one of their leaders Peter Magombeyi was allegedly abducted by unknown people.

Magombeyi was severely tortured during his ordeal, but the government denied that state security agents were involved.

Zimbabwe nurses Association president Enoch Dongo could not comment on the alleged threats against striking nurses, saying he was still gathering details.

Nyasha nyaguse, the president of the Senior Hospital Doctors’ Association, said she could “neither confirm nor deny” the allegations.

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health and Care minister, is yet to meet the striking health workers over a month after he was appointed.

Critics say the government has not shown any seriousness in resolving the multi-faceted crisis facing the health sector at a time the country is battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Source – the standard

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