Acting Chitungwiza Municipality health director Mr Herbert Chirowodza is in the eye of a storm for allegedly leaving out the names of nurses from the list of Covid-19 front-liners that were submitted by the local authority to the Government for payment of risk allowances.
Sources said Mr Chirowodza, who is a qualified environmental technician, allegedly submitted a list made up of environmental and health promotions workers only.
This resulted in auxiliary staff such as pest controllers pocketing as much as $4 500 meant for nurses, instead of $1 000.
“The situation on the ground is untenable. Almost all the nurses save for a few missed on the Covid-19 allowance yet they have been risking their lives by continuing to attend to patients despite the apparent risks,” said the source, who preferred anonymity.
The source said the director was recently involved in a heated argument with senior matrons on Monday, who told him that nurses were preparing to down tools over the issue.
Nurses interviewed by The Herald yesterday confirmed the impasse.
“This is utter nonsense. We are working without personal protective equipment and risking our lives, but when it comes to such a critical issue, we miss out.
“What is more infuriating is that the money meant for us was given to less-deserving people.”
Another nurse said the acting director was personalising the health department.
“He doesn’t like all medical staff maybe because he is not one. He is at it again because in 2008, he also misappropriated allowances meant for us during the cholera epidemic and we kept quiet but this time we will fight for what is ours,” said the nurse at Seke North Clinic who also preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation.
Contacted for a comment yesterday, Mr Chirowodza said he was submitting a new list to Government.
“When the list was submitted we wanted people who would work at isolation centres, so some were turning down the offer,” he said.
“However, the Government later made a commitment that all health workers were supposed to benefit and a new list is being worked upon.”
Mr Chirowodza said the Government requested the list three weeks ago, yet his boss, Chitungwiza Acting Town Clerk Dr Tonderai Kasu indicated that they had submitted banking details for all their health staff over a month ago.
“We have already submitted banking details of all our health staff to the Ministry of Health and we were expecting to receive the first payment from Treasury for our health staff any time within the next one or two working days, bearing in mind that Friday is a public holiday,” Dr Kasu said a day before May Day.