Thursday, 13 May 2021

MORTGAGES, CAR LOANS FOR NURSES

GOVERNMENT is working to retain health workers in light of the exodus of staff, especially nurses through the introduction of various schemes that include mortgages and car loans.

A number of nurses in both public hospitals and council run clinics are resigning citing poor salaries and working conditions.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) clinics have also been hit hard by the exodus of nurses, a development that has further crippled the city’s health delivery system, which was already operating at 60 percent capacity.

Council runs 19 clinics in the city and they are operating with staffing levels of between 49 and 61 percent. Council requires a staff complement of 186 nursing staff to operate at full capacity.

However, the local authority has for some time been running with 120 nurses and resignations have seen the figure dropping to 87 after 33 nurses left between June last year and March.

The world yesterday marked the International Nurses Day which is commemorated on May 12 annually.

Speaking soon after touring United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Mpilo Central Hospital and Ekusileni Medical Centre yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro said Government has always acknowledged the importance of nurses and other health workers.

“As Government we are committed to ensuring that the life of the health worker is much better and we want them to feel comfortable when they are at work. The Minister of Health and Child Care Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has pronounced that mortgages for the health workers are back and that they will be able to get car loans with Government cover,” he said.

“It is our policy that all hospitals must make sure that workers’ canteens are established in those places so that when someone is doing their work, they are happy.”

Dr Mangwiro said VP Chiwenga has on several occasions emphasised the need for health workers to get proper accommodation and transport with the salary being icing on the cake.

“The Minister, in many of his presentations made several times, has emphasised that the monetary part should be the last thing as long as the health worker has accommodation and proper transport. The salary should actually be a top up of whatever they already have and that’s what we are endeavouring to do,” he said.

“Government is going out to build houses and flats for the health workers and the issue of transport won’t be a problem. These measures were pronounced very well by Vice-President Chiwenga in his capacity as Minister of Health and Child Care.”

The Deputy Minister also warned citizens against complacency as the world battles new variants of Covid-19. He said there is a need to escalate awareness on the vaccination programme.

“We are witnessing what is happening in Brazil and India, we do not want history to repeat itself here, so people need to be vaccinated as we target to reach herd immunity. We want to assure the nation that we have enough vaccines to vaccinate the nation,” he said. 

“People should seek correct information on Covid-19 and vaccinations as fake news spreading on social media is misinforming people which in turn is causing hesitancy in terms of embracing the vaccine.”

Dr Mangwiro said Bulawayo, by virtue of its geographical location, is a centre for people travelling to neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana hence the need to ramp up the vaccination programme in the city.

So far, a total of 61 424 people has received the first dose in Bulawayo while 24 290 got the second jab. Countrywide, total of 539 526 people has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Government has set aside US$100 million for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines. As of Tuesday, Zimbabwe had 38 448 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 36 221 recoveries and 1 579 deaths. Chronicle

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