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Health institutions face critical staff shortages

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

HEALTH institutions across the country are facing shortages of critical staff, which has severely affected effective healthcare delivery at a time when the country is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The issue was revealed during a recent tour of hospitals and clinics in the country by the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on HIV and Aids.

In a media briefing to journalists yesterday, chairperson of the HIV and Aids Thematic Committee, Morgan Femai, said the committee found out that most institutions were manned by skeletal staff.

“The major findings in our tour in clinics and hospitals are that there is shortage of staff at hospitals at a time when the country is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Femai said.

“As a result, patients, including those living with HIV and Aids, sometimes fail to get immediate assistance when they get to health institutions. Some hospitals are managed by a single nurse, hence patients spend the whole day waiting to get attention.

“As a result, some patients end up not bothering to visit clinics when they are not feeling well due to the poor service delivery. Some of them end up losing their lives if they continue without getting medical healthcare.”

Femai urged government to ensure that every health institution is adequately staffed so that patients are attended to on time.

Some of the findings by the committee were that people living with HIV and Aids were failing to access the required medical examinations due to shortage of equipment in some health institutions.

“There is a problem of centralising critical medical equipment in big health institutions.  It is vital for medical equipment to be availed in all hospitals so that HIV and Aids patients in all areas across the country can be examined. Due to lack of adequate equipment, HIV and Aids patients do not get their medical examinations and results on time, which affects their management,” Femai said.

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