Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
MORE than 45 nurses last year left Bulawayo City Council-owned clinics, a situation that has greatly affected the local authority’s health delivery services.
This has seen the local authority’s health service department embarking on a recruitment drive where they aim at employing 50 more nurses to fill in the gaps. Council requires a staff complement of 186 nursing staff to operate at full capacity, but of late the city has been operating with staffing levels of between 49 and 61 percent. According to the latest council report, the 45 nurses that left the local authority’s employ last year were either due to resignation, retirement or death.
“The Director of Health Services (Dr Edwin Sibanda) reported that there was a critical shortage of nursing staff at the clinics. Nurses had continued to resign monthly with 45 nurses having been lost through natural attrition (resigned, retired or died) in 2021. Clinics had continued to utilise locum staff who had less experience,” reads the report.
In order to strike a balance regarding staffing levels, the local authority has since embarked on a recruitment drive that will initially see them replacing the 45 that had left.
Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube, in a public notice revealed that the local authority was looking at employing 50 qualified nurses, with the potential candidates expected to have at least two years’ experience as a qualified nurse and should be registered with the Nurses Council of Zimbabwe with a valid practising certificate.
“The City of Bulawayo offers an attractive package comprising a competitive salary plus a number of fringe benefits, details of which will be revealed to the shortlisted applicants.
Applications in envelopes clearly marked “Registered General Nurse” should be sent along with a comprehensive curriculum vitae and copies of relevant academic/professional certificates supported by three professional traceable referees,” said Mr Dube.
The deadline for the submission of applications has been set for tomorrow. Last year, Government had to intervene in the local authority’s dire shortage of nurses when they seconded 12 nurses from Mpilo Central Hospital to the council-owned Thorngrove hospital, in a bid to up the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 12 nurses however, fall short of the 15 that were requested by the local authority at the onset of the pandemic.
So critical was the situation that at one point BCC even considered closing four of its clinics as the staffing situation within its health services department continued to deteriorate.
In a report on the state of the city’s health services department, the director of health services, Dr Sibanda, said the local authority was working with an establishment of 43,9 percent of nursing personnel meaning there was a shortage of 56,1 percent this thereby negatively affecting the city’s health delivery services.
It was further revealed that the four maternity centres — Nkulumane, Luveve, Pelandaba and Northern Suburbs — of the required 131 nurses had only 59 meaning they were operating with a staff establishment of 45 percent, while the non-maternity centres had 85 out of the required 199 workers, were operating with an establishment of 42,7 percent.