By Kudzai Chikiwa
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) rehabilitation centre in Bulawayo attends to an average of 60 workers per day who seek treatment after suffering work-related injuries.
The number includes a mixture of new and old patients who are dressed for wounds, whom the authority says are worrisome.
This emerged during last week’s ‘Rehabilitation and return to work’ symposium organised by NSSA in the city.
The gathering was attended by medical practitioners, employers and workers’ representatives who deliberated on safety issues and how to circumvent duty-related injuries.
The authority has since called for improved occupational safety and medical surveillance within companies as it expressed worry over the trend.
NSSA acting chief executive officer Mr David Makwara told participants their desire was to eliminate workplace injuries and “Vision-zero-safety, health and well being” theme.
He said the authority was implementing a new occupational health services (OHS) department legislation whose main thrust was to harmonise all pieces of legislation related to occupational safety.
“This implementation is at an advanced stage. This should see us having laws that will empower your spheres of influence in terms of OHS delivery in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Makwara.
“Our OHS department is undergoing a renaissance which should also consolidate the OHS profile of our country. We are at an advanced stage of undertaking occupational health surveillance.”
He rallied health practitioners to collaborate with NSSA to reduce injuries and maintain safe working conditions.
Participants also toured the NSSA Rehabilitation Centre, which is the only one in Zimbabwe and receives injured workers from all corners of the country.
The facility exists to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with impairments and disabilities resulting from work-related injuries and diseases.
It also has a vocational centre that offers courses including welding, tailoring, leather-work, carpentry, gardening and poultry, which pensioners use upon discharge.
A senior social worker, Mr Evaristo Makotore said vocational training was critical in equipping pensioners with income generating skills that enable them to survive economic hardships.
He said pensioners were assisted with capital in form of equipment and material.
“If someone specialises in poultry we can help them with day old chicks and feeding. Our idea is to see them utilising the skills. NSSA usually follow up on them to check progress,” he said. The Chronicle