Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau
GWERU City Council has 31 vacant positions for nurses at its clinics, a development that has contributed to delays in the mass vaccination drive in the Midlands Capital.
Council clinics serve about 50 people a day and in some cases, those wanting to be inoculated are being turned away as the available nurses are being overwhelmed.
The local authority runs eight clinics which are Senga, Mkoba Polyclinic, Mkoba 1, Totonga, Child Welfare, Mtapa Clinic, Ivene and New Life Centre.
In an interview, GCC spokesperson Ms Vimbai Chingwaramusee said since June last year, council has lost 14 nurses due to resignations, retirements and death.
Those who resigned left for greener pastures.
“As Gweru City Council, between last year and this year, we have nine resignations, four retirements and one death,” she said.
“So at the moment GCC has a shortage of 31 nurses which is our current complement. We currently have 65 nurses and we need to recruit more to ensure that we curb the spread of Covid- 19 pandemic and other pandemics such as HIV and Aids and TB.”
Ms Chingwaramusee said currently to mitigate against the shortage of nurses, council has been engaging locum nurses to cover for shortages.
“Yes, I have been around our clinics and I was told that at times yes our nurses are overwhelmed because of people who want to be vaccinated. Remember we are administering the Covid-19 vaccines and at times people come in numbers. We have told our nurses that everyone must be vaccinated who will be in the queue. Our clinics deal with over 50 people a day and it can be quite straining, worse we have shortages of nurses,” she said.
Residents have said the shortage of health workers is dampening the mass vaccination drive in Gweru as centres are being overwhelmed resulting in some residents being turned away.
Gweru has recorded 77 Covid-19 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.
According to the Midlands province Covid-19 update, 74 people succumbed to the virus in Kwekwe, Gokwe South 36, Zvishavane 17, Shurugwi 12, Chirumanzu 8, and Mberengwa 1.
“A total of 225 people have succumbed to Covid-19 in the Midlands province. Active cases are 1 415, and 4 765 recoveries,” reads part of the provincial Covid-19 update.
Gokwe South, Gweru, Kwekwe, Zvishavane are the Covid-19 hotspots in the province.