'Health board should lobby govt'

HARARE - The Health Services Board (HSB) should convince government of the importance of care workers and ensure that they are fully capacitated, the Community Working Group (CWG) on Health has said.

In an interview with the Daily News last week, CWG’s executive director Itai Rusike said HSB’s impact should be felt when they lobby government.

Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa revealed in Bulawayo recently that an estimated 3 500 nurses were unemployed.

He also noted that with the revised staff establishment, government would absorb all the unemployed nurses with room to employ an additional 5 000.

While world over standard nurse to patient ratio is 1 to 4, in Zimbabwe it is 1:15.

“The recent statistics show a worsening rather than improvement of some key health indicators that directly relate to population health and avoidance of preventable deaths,” he said.

Rusike added that the growth in population and disease burden should necessitate an increase in health workers so as to provide sufficient and quality services.

He said in some instances nurses cannot

undergo further training as their stations will be left empty due to a shortage of staff.

“However, even with the establishment levels, government is still unable to fill in the current establishment.  For example most district hospitals do not have four doctors as required in the current establishment system,” Rusike said.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association has said that since most nurses have been unemployed for long periods of time, they need to go for refresher courses.

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