Health institutions short staffed

November 2, 2015 Local News
Health Reporter
Public health institutions continue to be dogged by a serious shortage of personnel, leading to low levels of service delivery. The situation is further complicated by a decision by Government to build new hospitals across the country although it has frozen recruitment of health workers. Health Services Board chairperson Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa confirmed the challenges recently.
He told a Community Working Group on Health annual general meeting held in Harare that staff was being moved from existing health facilities to new ones, leading to serious understaffing. “I am sure you are all aware that we need Treasury concurrence whenever we want to recruit new cadres and it is not always a smooth process to recruit new staff,” said Dr Mbengeranwa.
He said there were more than 3 000 unemployed but qualified nurses on the streets and that there was no hope that they would be employed anytime soon. “The situation has not changed but we continue to negotiate with Treasury for opening of more posts so that we absorb all the nurses,” said Dr Mbengeranwa. He said owing to the increased population and disease burden in the country, there was need for more staff in health facilities.
Dr Mbengeranwa said Government, with support from development partners, was working on a survey to ascertain the actual number of nurses or doctors required at each facility at a given time. The last review of staff requirements in the health sector was done in the 1960s.
Nurses Association of Zimbabwe (ZiNA) president Ms Regina Smith urged Government to speed up reviewing of staff compliments and come up with ways of absorbing unemployed nurses. Ms Smith said ZiNA was concerned that the unemployed nurses would have to undergo retraining when they eventually get employment.
“Government should quickly find ways of absorbing the unemployed nurses because if they continue roaming the streets, they will have to undergo retraining, which is very frustrating than the actual training,” she said.