NURSES IN US$5 MILLION WINDFALL
Government owes nurses over US$5 million in unpaid salaries and allowances due to a grading system anomaly of 20 000 health workers over the past seven years.
Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji said the 20 000 nurses were wrongly graded in D1 when Government changed its grading system. He said consultations were underway with Treasury to pay those affected.
“Moving forward, we want to regrade the affected nurses so that Government doesn’t accumulate the debt. If you calculate the grading anomaly per month, it comes to just US$52 362, which is not a lot of money,” said Dr Gwinji.
The experienced nurses graded in D1 earn US$419, which is less than some junior nurses who earn around US$600 monthly.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association secretary-general Mr Enoch Dongo expressed concern over the delay in payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.
“It is a step in the right direction but why engage Treasury today over a 2010 issue? Nurses have been largely disadvantaged over the Health Services Board’s incompetence,” he said.
“We are expecting those millions of dollars that are owed to nurses to be paid as soon as yesterday. Since 2010, nurses and other health workers have been wrongly graded; so we are calling for disciplinary action against those who slept failed to do their job.”
In a letter dated January 18, 2018 to the Health and Child Care Ministry, nurses demanded that Government dissolve the Health Services Board, failing which they would down tools.
“The ministry should give us feedback, if they do not punish HSB, we will demonstrate and withdraw our services countrywide,” said Mr Dongo. “It has been seven years now, nothing has been done about the board’s incompetence but the evidence is there, the board and the ministry have admitted that they made a mistake.”