Nurses across the country are grappling with a financial crisis, with their salaries failing to align with the rampant inflation that has been reported to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care. Nurses continue to be remunerated in the local currency which, regrettably, has not kept pace with the soaring inflation, creating a struggle for these healthcare professionals to maintain an adequate standard of living.
Allan Nyamupinga, a representative for the nursing staff at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, articulated the depth of the issue to the committee. According to him, the average monthly salary for nurses, currently standing at $45,000, falls significantly short of covering even the most basic needs.
“The crux of our problem lies in our salaries,” Nyamupinga stated. “Our earnings are in the local currency, and currently, we are paid $45,000, an amount that is simply insufficient. The sum is too meager to cater to our needs. Consider this – we receive $7,000 as a transportation allowance. A uniform allowance is also provided, but the money doesn’t suffice to purchase even one uniform.”
Further exacerbating the nurses’ predicament is their inability to secure loans from banks, a consequence of their salaries being paid in the local currency. “Our capacity to acquire loans from banks is hampered due to the local currency component of our salary. Our circumstances as nurses are extremely dire and call for urgent intervention,” Nyamupinga stressed.
A nurse employed at Parirenyatwa’s psychiatric unit voiced their concerns about being compelled to admit patients in violation of hospital policy. “High-ranking officials are pressuring us to admit patients who are intended for rehabilitation; we are not a rehabilitation center. We urge the government to build more rehabilitation centers, or else we will continue to be overburdened,” the nurse pleaded.
The scenario has precipitated a state of financial distress among many nurses, leaving them struggling to afford basic necessities such as food, shelter, and healthcare. This financial hardship has not only affected their personal lives but also cast a shadow over their professional duties.
While the government has initiated measures to resolve these concerns, many Zimbabweans, including healthcare workers, continue to grapple with the struggle of making ends meet. This monetary strain, in combination with other factors, has led to a mass exodus of health professionals seeking better opportunities in Europe. The healthcare sector, therefore, remains in a state of debilitation, further highlighting the need for immediate and effective solutions.