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Harare - The Zimbabwean government has on Tuesday fired all nurses who went on strike earlier this week.

Nurses in Zimbabwe went on strike on Monday, citing amongst other reasons poor working conditions and poor remuneration.

On Tuesday,  Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga - who supervises the social services cluster in government - said against the background of a series of meetings involving government, the Health Services Board, and the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, the continued strike was regrettable.

“What makes the whole action both deplorable and reprehensible is the fact that, as agreed yesterday [Monday], government today released and transferred a sum of $17 114 446 into the account of the ministry of health and childcare for on-payment of the striking nurses,” he said.

Read: Zimbabwe nurses go on strike over allowances

Zimbabwe doctors go on strike over pay, drug shortages

Chiwenga said government regarded the continued strike by nurses as a “lack of remorse” and “politically-motivated”.

“Accordingly, government has decided, in the interest of patients and of saving lives, to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect,” he said.

“Further, government has now instructed the Health Services Board to speedily engage, as appropriate, all unemployed but trained nurses in the country. It has also authorised the board to recall retired nursing staff into the service.”

Chiwenga said funds that had been released to meet demands of the striking nurses would now be redirected and allocated towards meeting the cost of effecting “this new directive and arrangement with immediate effect”.

The nurses’ strike comes after government gave in to doctors’ demands and hiked their salaries and allowances following a month-long strike that had crippled the health sector. 

The doctors received an upward review of on-call allowances, noting that members work round the clock for up to 360 continuous hours. 

Junior doctors’ on-call allowances were reviewed from the current $1.50 per hour to $7.50 per hour for 160 hours as a flat fee of $1,200 per month.

African News Agency/ANA