By Pauline Hurungudo
Government says it has unfrozen 1 762 posts in the health sector, this comes in the wake of a massive shortage of health workers which inflamed the industrial action by doctors last year.
File picture of doctors and nurses on strike in Zimbabwe (Picture by Health Times) Among the doctors’ demands was that government unfreezes posts to aid the ailing under-staffed workers, who led a crippling strike for 40 days.
In an interview with this publication, Health Services Board executive chairperson Paulinus Sikhosana said the board, Health and Child Care ministry together with Treasury had progressed to prioritise the health sector which is a critical component to Zimbabwean livelihoods.
“There are 1 762 posts and this is for all heath workers across the board. They cover government institutions, rural district councils, obviously HSB, all health workers — doctors, nurses, lab scientists, environmental health officers — all those posts that had been frozen.
“Treasury has agreed to release about $12 499 040 million. The unfreezing did not happen yesterday, it has been a continual process,” Sikhosana said.
Sikhosana added that the recently appointed HSB board has been holding meetings with the requisite stakeholders in a bid to address challenges in the ailing sector.
“So in the discussions with treasury we had requested for the unfreezing of posts for up to $10 million but with our consultations with the Health and Child Care ministry we estimated it to be around $12.5 million.
“The Finance and Development ministry agreed they will provide those resources and we have had a number of meetings with Treasury, and the ministry has prioritised these and these are the positions that have been prioritised (pointing at a the posts printed on several papers),” he added.
Zimbabwe’s health delivery system has for a while been battling myriad problems as a result of the country’s worsening economic climate.
In the past, major referral hospitals have had to suspend some services as a result of shortages of drugs, including painkillers.
At the same time the sector has been shelled by shortages of doctors and other medical personnel resulting in rushed poor health delivery services.
Meanwhile, government last week permitted nurses and other health workers to adjust their working hours to 154 per month which translates to three days a week, to enable the health workers cope with the current economic challenges.
Don’t miss the Daily News on Sunday for a full Interview with Sikhosana. DailyNews
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