Nurses’ shortage hits Binga . . . unqualified village health workers man clinic
Thandeka Moyo Bulawayo Bureau
Unqualified village health workers in Binga are reportedly manning a clinic located about 180 kilometres from Binga District Hospital.
Chunga Clinic, which is the furthest public health centre from Binga Centre, is difficult to access due to a poor road network and also has poor telephone network.
Binga North Member of Parliament Mr Prince Madubeko Sibanda said the district, which is a high risk area for malaria, was failing to access healthcare due to a shortage of nurses.
He said village health workers were forced to take on the job of trained nurses when most of them were only qualified in basic first aid.
“Some of our clinics are still manned by village health workers with no certified nurses and that’s a challenge,” said Mr Sibanda. “We also have a serious shortage of ambulances, for example from the district hospital to the furthest clinic in the constituency it’s a distance of about 180km.
“Firstly, it is difficult to communicate. The bad road network makes it difficult for patients to travel to the district hospital, hence many resort to traditional healers.”
Mr Sibanda said the district urgently needed ambulances to ease the burden.
“About 10 years ago we were promised that Siabuwa Clinic would be upgraded to a hospital to improve the situation. It is very difficult to retain doctors in rural areas. As we speak we have only three junior doctors for the whole district,” Mr Sibanda said.
He said most villagers in the area were poverty stricken and could not afford the user fees charged at health centres.
Speaking during the just ended 24th Community Working Group on Health annual meeting, Mr John Ngirazi, the chairperson of the organisation, appealed to Government to increase public funding in the health sector.
“It is worrying to note that in the past few months, the country has experienced outbreaks of medieval diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and scurvy diseases that were completely eliminated in some parts of the world and Zimbabwe at one time,” he said.
“Zimbabwe’s health challenges are also compounded by health systems’ constraints such as a critical shortage of personnel, ageing equipment and infrastructure, limited funding and lack of enabling health policies.”
The country’s health institutions need about 8 000 nurses to operate smoothly amid revelations that there are about 4 200 qualified unemployed nurses.
Health and Child Care Minster Dr David Parirenyatwa recently told Senators that he was working tirelessly to ensure that there is an update of the establishment which was last revised in 1983.