30 January 2017
MINISTER of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa says freezing of posts is not ideal for the health sector and has called for an exemption from Treasury.
Speaking last week at the launch of the National Health Strategy in Murehwa, Minister Parirenyatwa said reducing staff in the health sector did not work noting that the sector needed the more than 4 000 unemployed nurses but the post freeze was a major obstacle.
Noting how the job freeze was affecting the health sector, he said they needed to employ more doctors and nurses to beef up human resources.
“Reducing staff in health does not work, maybe in other sectors but in health it’s not working. We should increase our staff so that we get better services, then we monitor if indeed work is being done but let us get them.
“The country has over 4 000 unemployed nurses while the hospitals are in need of nurses. In fact we need 8 000 nurses and we would want to employ but we can’t. We will continue to engage treasury so that we get more nurses, doctors and other health professionals,” he said.
Government froze civil service posts including in the health sector due to crippled funding and a way of cutting its wage bill.
Due to the freezing of posts in the sector, the country might soon have jobless doctors after the Government recently notified that it does not guarantee jobs for doctors who will complete internship this February.
More than 150 doctors are set to complete internship while only 50 posts are available in the districts.
Following this development, the doctors have already petitioned the Government to remove the third year of internship so that doctors can be given open practising certificates which allows them to seek employment elsewhere.
Minister Parirenyatwa hopes the ambitious National Health Strategy which costed this year’s health budgetary need at US $1, 3 will address several issues affecting the health sector including human capital.
However, its full implementation is hanging in the balance as it would require more funding from government as well as development partners.
Under the 2017 National Budget, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated a paltry $281 million to Health, which Minister Parirenyatwa said fell far short of the health sector’s budgetary needs.
“This document addresses issues of human capital. We want to decentralise services, to upgrade village health workers so that their allowances are reviewed because they do so much and often not recognised.
“I have noticed that this hospital (Murehwa District) has four doctors, they are few. We also have clinics in the district and we need a doctor who will be going around those clinics.
“We can’t have four doctors at a hospital. The same in Uzumba, at Mutawatawa hospital there should be about five or six doctors, and another who goes around.”