Statement on the Impact of Ongoing Health Sector Incapacitation

Women for Economic and Social Empowerment (WESE) is deeply worried by the ongoing indefinite incapacitation of health sector workers over poor working salaries and low remuneration. On 17 June 2022, representatives of health sector workers notified the Health Services Board (HSB) that they would be embarking on incapacitation starting today, 20 June 2022 after HSB failed to positively respond to their demands.

The incapacitation poses grave danger for women’s access to health because women constitute the majority of those who seek medical services from public health facilities. As WESE we are therefore stunned with the government’s lack of commitment to resolving the impasse with health workers. Health is a right guaranteed in terms of Section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and failure by the government to ensure smooth functioning of the sector constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights.

Demands from the nurses are just and very reasonable as they relate to livelihoods and the need for basic equipment and drugs to use in clinics and hospitals. It is inconceivable that government would claim to have a budget surplus while failing to adequately pay its workers. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and women with chronic illnesses are at the most exposed by the ongoing incapacitation. Furthermore, lack of access to health services affects women’s overall socio-economic well-being, resulting in reversals to gains made in women empowerment drive over the years. We call on government to urgently address the demands of nurse, provide adequate drugs and equipment in hospitals and clinics and take its responsibility in terms of the Constitution seriously.

Source: Women for Economic and Social Empowerment (WESE)

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