The government has started re-engaging health workers to come up with an amicable solution to challenges bedevilling the sector.
A meeting involving Health and Child Care Acting Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, his deputy Dr John Mangwiro, the Health Services Board, and striking nurses, was held on Monday.
The nurses were tasked to quantify their demands in local currency, as well as bringing forth comparative salaries from the region.
Prof Murwira yesterday described the meeting as fruitful, and hopes the negotiations will yield positive results.
“My role is to remove the toxicity in the health system and encourage dialogue and team work, he said. The language of threats and ultimatums does not work at all, hence, I am pursuing a different method of engagement, which has less frictions and in the interest of national health system.”
Prof Murwira said the HSB, as the employer, was working with health workers to ensure their grievances were addressed in the spirit of teamwork.
“Solutions to current challenges should be two-way and not one way, that is why I am working very hard to ensure that there is continuous dialogue between the employer and the employees,” said Prof Murwira.
In their written response to Prof Murwira on issues raised in the meeting, the nurses, through Zimbabwe the Nurses Association (ZINA) president Mr Enock Dongo insisted on the US dollar salary payments, arguing that the economy had virtually dollarised.
Mr Dongo itemised the monthly requirements for a family, and the total stood at about $30 000.
He said their counterparts in South Africa were earning an equivalent of about US$1 200 a month.
“It is for this reason that nurses are demanding payment in the stable US (dollar) currency as at 1 October 2018 as we believe we would be able to have a certain level of dignity brought back to our lives so that we can afford basic essentials,” said Mr Dongo.
The Senior Hospital Doctors Association has also written to Prof Murwira with similar grievances, which they want addressed by July 29.