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Crisis at Bulawayo council clinics deepens

by Staff reporter
06 Jan 2022 at 18:56hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents are spending long hours at council clinics due to a shortage of nurses, a development that is compromising access to health services in the city.

Council clinics and Government hospitals have seen a huge decrease in the number of nursing staff due to poor remuneration and brain drain, at a time when the country is also grappling with Covid-19.

Bulawayo City Council runs 19 clinics and they are operating with staffing levels of between 49 and 61 percent.

Council requires a staff complement of 186 nurses to operate at full capacity, but has been left with just 87 nurses following resignations, as of December 28.

According to the latest council minutes, Ward 25 councillor Mzama Dube expressed concern about the situation at council clinics saying it compromises service delivery and has effects on patients.

He said the number of nursing staff is decreasing and service delivery was now being compromised.

The councillor said residents were spending long hours at clinics.

Ward 8 Councillor, Arnold Batirai concurred and raised concern on staff turnover.

He said the nursing staff were leaving council on a daily basis.

"Councillor Joyce Ndlovu noted that the nursing staff were resigning from council due to poor remuneration. The general staff welfare was poor. The poor country's economy was another driver," read the minutes.

The Deputy Mayor Clr Mlandu Ncube said the situation goes beyond council as Government clinics and hospitals are also affected.

Most healthcare workers are reportedly trekking to the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, which recently embarked on a massive recruitment in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Clr Ncube expressed concern about the situation at council clinics. The situation was no longer at council level but at national level. Central Government nurses were also leaving the country, only a few wanted to join local authorities," read the minutes.

He added that Zimbabwe's nursing staff training standards were very high and most of the Commonwealth countries were recruiting local nurses.

Clr Ncube urged residents to pay their bills on time so that the welfare and remuneration of council staff is improved.

The local authority resolved to adopt the recommendation of the health, housing and education committee as a way of dealing with the situation at hand.

United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Central Hospital last year lost more than 300 workers, which has severely affected the effective healthcare delivery.

The resignations come at a time when the Government has shown commitment to improve the welfare of its workers.

Government has already embarked on a deliberate plan to improve the lives and conditions of services for health care workers through the provision of non-monetary benefits, among others.

This move is expected to reduce the rate at which skilled staff is leaving service.

Source - The Chronicle