The situation remained deplorable at major referral hospitals in and around Harare as nurses vowed to boycott night duties until their grievances are attended to. Reports also indicate that some districts such as Chivhu and Sadza have joined the boycott.

Most nurses from Parirenyatwa Hospital, which initially had a few nurses taking part in the night duty, also boycotted and joined their colleagues from Harare and Chitungwiza central hospitals who stopped reporting for night duty on Monday last week.

A visit to Harare Central Hospital yesterday bore evidence to crippled service delivery at the referral hospital as it literally closed its casualty department. The hospital was almost deserted with a few patients trickling in to the outpatients department. Harare Central Hospital staff who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the strike had gone a level up with theatre nurses also joining the boycott. “Last week, the theatre nurses were working but it seems they have also joined the strike as very few surgeries were conducted today,” said a source.

Harare Central Hospital public relations department referred all questions to the hospital’s clinical director Mr George Vera, who was not immediately available for comment. However, unconfirmed reports were that the hospital was referring some cases to Parirenyatwa Hospital, while nurses from the uniformed forces were assisting patients at night. Nurses interviewed at Parirenyatwa Hospital confirmed that most of them joined the strike with effect from yesterday.

The nurses said some of them have been doing night duties last week, but since no action was being taken by responsible authorities, they also joined their colleagues from Harare and Chitungwiza hospitals. “Most patients who are supposed to be treated from Harare Hospital were coming here exerting pressure on us and we cannot continue like this. We have therefore decided to join our colleagues and we will only work up to 4pm,” said one of the nurses.

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