HARARE City Council clinics have a shortfall of at least 300 nurses, crippling health delivery services in the capital as more health workers continue to quit their jobs over poor pay.
Mayor Jacob Mafume exposed the dire crisis facing Harare clinics and revealed that the local authority required a staff complement of around 600 nurses but only had less than half the required figure.
“We are supposed to be operating with over 600 health personnel but we have half of that. This is because there is a brain drain to government. We are losing our workers to government because it is paying its workers better than us,” Mafume told journalists during a press conference on Thursday.
“This is because of the United States dollar component. There is also a brain drain out of the country. Majority of our health personnel have left the country to look for greener pastures.”
There are no exact statistics on the number of health professionals that left the country in 2021, but the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) put the figure at just over 2000.
A nurse aide recruitment craze has also hit the country, with many nationals scrambling to get the certificate in the hope of making it to the United Kingdom in search of a better life.
Mafume’s media address followed a petition by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) after a woman gave birth in a toilet at Glenview polyclinic due to negligence by health personnel.
Mafume said the council was investigating the matter.
CHRA programmes manager Reuben Akili said: “The Glenview issue is a tip of the iceberg. There is gross negligence and abuse of human rights at council clinics. The matter should be dealt with urgency.
“We implore the local authority to honour its pledges to investigate the allegations raised by the residents. Corruption, negligence and criminal abuse of office has resulted in the loss of lives and it should be stopped forthwith.”