October 23, 2015 in National, News
Over 3 000 nurses in the country are not employed at a time most health facilities are operating with skeleton staff, Health Services Board (HSB) chairman Lovemore Mbengeranwa has lamented.
By Phyllis Mbanje
Speaking at the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) annual conference in Harare on Wednesday, Mbengeranwa said while Treasury had no money to employ more health personnel, the country was facing a critical shortage of nurses.
“There is need to increase the health budget because how can the posts be filled up when Treasury cannot pay them?” Mbengeranwa queried.
The Abuja Declaration states that governments should allocate 15% of their national budgets to health, but Treasury has been falling short on that lately.
Thousands of nurses left the country for greener pastures at the height of the economic crisis between 2005 and 2009.
Most public health facilities were left with skeletal staff and the situation was worsened when the government put a freeze on recruitment, leaving thousands of nurses stranded upon completion of their studies.
Other stakeholders who had gathered for the CWGH conference also raised concern over the problem which was common at most health facilities.
Director of the Women Action Group, Edinah Musiyiwa, challenged stakeholders to question the detaining of women who fail to pay for maternity fees.
“At policy level, user fees for pregnant women have been scrapped, but at the hospitals, it is a different issue. Someone should question that,” she said.
“The maternal mortality rate is still high at 614 deaths per
100 000 live births and such issues of user fees are some of the reasons women end up giving birth at home.”
Recently, the Harare Residents’ Trust reported that women were being detained at Harare Central Hospital after failing to pay for maternity services.