Zimbabwean nurses based in the United Kingdom (UK) have spoken out about the toll the coronavirus (Covid-19) is taking on them. Nurses and other health care workers are particularly vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus as they work on the frontlines in combating the disease.
iHarare has learned that approximately, 60 000 Zimbabweans work for the UK’s National Health System (NHS). At least 29 Zimbabwean nurses and health care workers are reported to have died from the coronavirus. However, the Zimbabwean Embassy in London cautioned that this figure is not official and has been compiled from information supplied by community leaders and the media.
Addressing the issue of lack of official figures, the Embassy told The Herald,
“To date, the Embassy has not received updated information from the host Government on the deaths of Zimbabweans due to Covid-19, understandably because the British government has explained that it is currently seized with implementing measures to contain the pandemic. They have promised to provide detailed information as soon as it is possible.”
One nurse who spoke to the publication revealed that she has been devasted and is now living on the edge following the deaths of close friends and family members. The nurse who revealed that she lost a brother, a cousin and a friend to the disease also said that two of her uncles were critically ill.
It has a psychological impact on the whole family. It’s a really difficult time. Even within my community, I know a lot of families who have lost loved ones due to coronavirus.
“You get to a point where you don’t want to pick up the phone. You are just constantly worried and you are frightened who is next, or who has been taken to hospital.”
Another of the Zimbabwean nurses in the UK paid homage to her colleagues and fellow health care workers for their commitment and bravery in such adverse conditions. Said the nurse,
“It shows the incredible bravery of every member of the National Health Services who goes into work knowing that these dangers are there. The coronavirus continues its grim march, but every life lost makes me Zimbabwean, determined than ever to push for victory,”