Tariro Zitsenga is a nurse aid at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare since 2009, where she has served in three departments namely the critical care area, private wards and the Covid-19 red zone.
She is among the 2022 Integrity Icon winners and for her, integrity means working with a purpose, for a purpose and bringing out results, and this has been exhibited through her work, where she has gone beyond what is expected of her.
Integrity Icon is a campaign that seeks to name and fame honest public servants. It is also a way of creating meaningful conversations about what it means to be a public servant and shining a light on ordinary people strengthening institutions in society.
Globally, a lack of integrity has become a huge challenge and has often led to corruption, inequality, and insecurity.
Ordinary citizens often feel helpless in the face of graft and mismanagement, hence the need to encourage champions of integrity, out of ordinary public servants which then helps to build back public trust, and Tariro Zitsenga appears to be destined for that path.
According to Anjelica Zitsenga, besides her normal nurse aid duties, Tariro has been providing counselling services and spiritual advice and home-based care to patients that come to her wards.
Although some people have often mocked and called her names like muRed Cross because of the pink uniform, she has not been deterred in her passion for patients.
Tariro says being a nurse aid or a care giver is not just about nursing or feeding patients and taking care of linen. Its more than that. She says you need to be socializing and talking with the patients and that you are supposed to reassure them and be there for them.
Sometimes she preaches to patients who would appear depressed and offer them counselling. This has seen her being called by relatives of some of the patients to come and help them with home-based care, or to help stay with the patient if they have functions or are going out.
On one occasion there was a patient who had colon cancer in one of the wards at Parirenyatwa Hospital. The patient was in denial and was very provocative and would refuse to bath or adhere to his medication when attended by other nurses. However, when Tariro attended to him and gave him counselling, he began to submit to bathing and taking medication.
On another occasion in Eastview, Tariro came to the rescue of a family that had inhaled smoke from charcoal and all the members had become unconscious. This was around 5am and she did first aid on them, before calling on the neighbours for assistance. She personally looked for transport and got a lorry and ferried them to Parirenyatwa. This is also the same time when doctors were on strike.
Tariro ran around looking for the doctors to attend to family and they were eventually attended to although they lost one of the family members who was pregnant.
While the other family members were still in hospital recuperating, she helped arranged the funeral for the other deceased family member.
Tariro started providing homebased care on her own to patients before she teamed up with other private wards nurse aids to form Diligent Nursing Services which would voluntarily provide their services while the patients are in hospital and are now being called to provide homebased care.
Diligent Nursing Services provides home based care, escort nursing, and bed side nursing. She says this has boosted the moral of nurse aids and given them an opportunity to market themselves outside Parirenyatwa Hospital.
She has also managed to motivate other nurse aids to further their studies and embark on other income generating projects to supplement their remuneration and is always ministering to them.
While there are cases where some nurses have been accused of asking for bribes from patients in exchange for good services, Tariro says she has never asked for bribes and has instead been offering extra service for free.
In terms of fighting corruption in her workplace, Sister Chikwenjere, said Tariro kit-lists patients belongings to avoid a situation where some nurses steal medication from patients.
According to Tariro, a patient’s medicine gives them life, and if you steal the patient’s medicine that means you are killing that patient. She says this is one of the things that they usually discuss about with other nurse aids.
One of the patients that have been attended to by Tariro who preferred not to be name, confirmed that Tariro is an honest, hardworking and compassionate nurse at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Tariro also treats all patients with impartiality regardless of their status, race or background.
According to Sister Chikwenjere, Tariro works with diligence and empath and does not consider disabilities, race or financial background, she treats all her patients the same. She added that Tariro does not clock out of her shift without checking on patients and tiding up the wards, adding that this shows that Tariro is a good example of a groomed nurse aid.’’