Concerns over amendments to the Health Services Act.

Credit : Newsday

THERE are fears that the recently signed Health Service Amendment Act could trample on the rights of health workers.

Speaking to NewsDay, Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike  said the Act is neither democratic nor consultative.

He said workers in the public health sector  are now disadvantaged in several ways, since now they cannot strike and bargain collectively.

“It is unfortunate that health workers are caught in the middle of a system that is slow to respond to their needs and ethical pressures not to take collective job action,” Rusike said.

“The unpopular Health Services Act will most likely exacerbate the exodus of health workers from the country thereby putting extra pressure on those who will remain on their jobs.”

He urged government to address the conditions of service for health workers to plug the brain drain.

While there are no exact statistics on the number of health professionals who left the country in 2021, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association put the figure at just over 2000.

Last year, government announced plans to ban doctors and nurses from embarking on job action lasting more than three days under new proposed amendments to the Health Services Act.