Over 450 nurses at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital yesterday took a bold step and apologised to Acting Minister of Health and Child Care, Professor Amon Murwira, during a dialogue meeting which was held at the hospital.
In October 2020, Permanent Secretary of Health and Child Care, Air Commodore Dr Jasper Chimedza, issued a directive cancelling flexi hours and ordering the resumption of a 40-hour working week.
However, this did not go down well with some nurses, who subsequently chose to defy the order by not reporting for duty.
As a result, the Ministry of Health could not pay the defiant nurses their monthly salaries after they went awl, but instead struck them off the payroll.
This saw 548 nurses at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, being affected. However, 458 of them have since written letters of apology to Minister of Health and Child Care, General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga, pleading to be put back on the payroll. The other ninety (90) nurses are still adamant that they will not apologise despite still reporting for duty.
Speaking on the occasion, nurses’ representative, Mr Irvine Makwavarara apologised and called for a lasting solution to the impasse in order to promote growth of the health delivery system.
“I came here as a representative to share our sentiment of apology as one of the nurses at large here with regards to the impasse between the nurses and the administration.
“We want to apologise for what has happened. We are not enemies of the State. We are committed to an amicable resolution to problems and we thank you for coming,” said Mr Makwavarara.
The nurses’ representative was appreciative of the dialogue as it produced tangible results which promote the health sector.
“Thank you for this gesture that you have shown and this conducive and honest dialogue in regards to nurses concerns and the future improvements and progress towards what is required of the profession,” concluded Mr Makwavarara.
Another nurses’ representative, Nomatter Dingo apologised on behalf of her colleagues for disregarding Dr Chimedza’s directive.
“We are apologising for not complying with the Permanent Secretary’s directive given on the 26th of October 2020.
“we dearly apologise for what has happened, since then we have resumed our normal duties and everyone is reporting for duty despite the fact that some have not received the salaries for November,” said Dingo.
In his address, Prof Murwira pointed out that he was in possession of their letters of apology and that this group of nurses had nothing to do with court proceedings against the Ministry.
“I have to tell you that my office is in receipt of 458 apology letters from you which are basically saying there are nurses disassociating themselves from any action that might have been taken.
“So I am assuming it’s true that I am addressing a group of nurses who have nothing to do with all the litigations which were being done,” said Prof Murwira.
The Acting Health Minister advised the affected nurses to expect a positive response and as the Ministry’s authorities they have agreed to come and listen to the nurses’ apology and concerns.
“We are taking your issue further and what I can say for now is that expect positive feedback. The nurses who were initially not reporting for duty wrote letters to us apologising and they requested us to come here and we agreed,” said Prof Murwira.
The event was also attended by Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, Health Services Board Chairperson, Dr Paulinus Sikosana and his board, Sally Mugabe Hospital Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Christopher Pasi.