Poor Zimbabwean citizens who cannot afford private health care facilities are dying each and every day in public hospitals as the cash-strapped government is maintaining its freeze on nursing and midwifery posts.
The Zimbabwean government froze recruitment of nurses in 2012, a situation that led to the critical shortages in hospitals and clinic, in rural areas the nurse patient ratio is currently pegged at 1,2 per 1000 patients.
Residents in rural Shurugwi have also bemoaned the situation, arguing that they have tried their level best to assist in the construction of clinics hence the government should fulfil its mandate of providing medical staff.
“As villagers we assisted in the construction of clinics in our villages, our aim was to improve the health delivery system and bring clinics closer to our doorsteps, but this is in vain for the ministry of health has not provided nurses and midwives to mane the clinics” said Petronella Zamuchiya a woman from Zhaugwe.
Another villager Mr Potiphah Hove appealed to the government to unfreeze the nursing posts before most the rural folk die of diseases that could be easily treated if more medical staff was provided.
“Some people who could have been saved die each and every day in hospitals due to the lack of medical staff, as if that is not enough our hospitals are not medically equipped, you go to a hospital, what they can only offer you is a prescription for you to go and buy the medicine from a pharmacy, Hove bemoaned.
Amidst this worrying situation, an estimate of 4,250 qualified general and primary care nurses are currently roaming the streets due to unemployment, a government minister has revealed.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Aldrin Musiiwa recently responding to a question in parliament on the shortage of medical staff in hospitals said, the number of medical staff in Zimbabwe catered for the nation in 1982 when the country’s population was only seven million.
“As I said before, we trained for the national needs. The current establishment is very low. It was an establishment that was given to us in 1982 when the country’s population was only seven million and the disease burden was much less.
“If we could have fiscal space, then we would be able to absorb all the nurses that are on the streets at the moment, answered Musiiwa
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told parliament in 2015 that the government would soon send its unemployed nurses to South Sudan to ease growing joblessness within the profession.
This followed a government decision during the GNU tenure to freeze any further recruitment into the country’s bloated civil service, now said to be hovering above half a million