OVER 100 nurses employed by the Harare City Council have resigned in recent months in protest over the non-payment of the COVID-19 risk allowance.
The mass resignations have since crippled the operations of the local council’s clinics, forcing the closure of some due to shortage of nurses.
The government has made a commitment to pay all frontline workers in local councils and government health centres employed either as nurses or health workers US$75 per month as COVID-19 allowance.
However, Harare City Council nurses complain they have not been receiving the promised allowances and are leaving enmasse.
Their plight has been worsened as their employer, the city council, has not been paying them and employees in other department their salaries.
The resignations were confirmed by Harare North MP Allan Norman Markham (MDC Alliance) in the National Assembly last week who added that nurses employed by the Bulawayo City Council were also not receiving their promised allowances.
However, it could not be confirmed whether they were also resigning.
“I would like to clarify on COVID-19 allowances. The COVID-19 allowance for nurses in urban areas as well is not being received. Harare and Bulawayo have both not received at the local government level,” Markham said.
“This has led to approximately 100 nurses resigning from the local authority here in Harare. Could the minister give us assurance that the US$75 is being paid to frontline workers in the medical profession?”
However, in response Health deputy minister John Mangwiro insisted that government was paying the US$75 directly into the accounts of each frontline worker entitled to the allowance.
“Payments are being directed to the individuals’ accounts. If there are any specific problematic accounts or anything, I will be glad to entertain that together with my team at the ministry,” he said.
Harare City Council runs two main referral hospitals, Wilkins and Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, which have been turned into main COVID-19 treatment centres for patients in the capital city requiring admission.
Mangwiro added that the Health ministry was disbursing monthly COVID-19 risk allowances to village health workers (VHWs) to the ministry’s provincial accounts and the provinces were disbursing the allowances to the individual accounts of the VHWs.
“However, some of the VHWs are facing challenges in opening bank accounts. The COVID-19 risk allowance for VHWs is 1 500 real-time gross settlement per month and US$75 per month on top of the usual US$45 per quarter.” – NewZimbabwe 🔺