Staff shortage hit HCC hospitals, clinics

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  • HCC ICUs in anaesthetists medical staff shortage
  • City hospitals, clinics urged to offer staff post-basic training courses

THERE is not enough medical staff in Harare City Council (HCC) and goverment medical institutions among frontline COVID-19 service providers, Zim Morning Post can reveal.

Shortages of specialist medical staff such as those for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) like nurses and anaesthetists are currently doing the rounds, particularly as patients who test positive for COVID-19 require specialist care.

Anaesthesia nurses are those who engage in specific duties such as monitoring the statuses of patients, including tasks which ordinary nurses cannot perform.

“Correct procedures are not being followed so that the patient may be closely monitored during the recovery process,” said one HCC doctor who preferred anonymity.

“We urge government to allocate anaesthetists and ICU nurses to both council and government hospitals to fight against the deadly pandemic,” he added.

In an interview with the president of Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers’ Union, James Tafirenyika, Zim Morning Post heard that there was a serious shortage of ICU nurses and anesthesia specialists in the country.

“The number of ICU nurses and anaesthetists being trained in the country does not tally with the population. Furthermore, the issue of brain drain of ICU nurses being recruited to European countries is just too much,” Tafirenyika said.

“Those who remain in the country are employed in the private sector where they are given better salaries. That problem will remain with us for a long day,” he added.

“The City of Harare does not have the facility for training ICU nurses so this will continue to be a problem if the responsible authority does not take action,” Tafirenyika said.

“We urge the government and city councils to do post basic skills in areas such as ICU and anaesthesia. Currently, we have the issue of the recently installed ventilators by the government. These need to be operated by those with post training skills in that field,” he said.

Government recently dismissed doctors who staged job action demanding better salaries.

Nurses also suffered the same fate as doctors and those who staged the job action were dismissed from their jobs, with some finding employment outside the country.

This left the country in a dire shortage of doctors, who are now critical in the fight against the coronavirus.

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