The shortage of health personnel has continued to impact negatively on service delivery in Matabeleland South province amid revelations that Gwanda Provincial Hospital has no specialist doctors.

Gwanda Provincial Hospital is the major referral centre in Matabeleland South servicing a population of over 300 000 people, from four districts but the critical institution does not have any specialist doctors.

Other districts are also faced with the shortage of environmental health and port health officers, ambulance drivers and mortuary attendants, a situation that has been straining employees who are forced to go beyond their normal duties.

The Acting Provincial Medical Director Dr Nobert Singine called on the Health Services Board (HSB) to help address the vacancy rate in order to improve service delivery.

“In terms of medical officers for the whole province, there is a 24 percent vacancy rate. Gwanda hospital needs 6 specialists but there are none, we also need port health officers. We have resorted in some cases to task sharing just to keep going,” said Dr Singine.

HSB board member Dr Stanley Mungofa says while it is aware of the staff shortages within the sector, the government’s fiscal space has remained constrained.

“When you employ more people you have to be prepared to pay more and with the current situation in the country and the measures that have been put by the Ministry of Finance surely we cannot employ more staff. The people holding various posts will unfortunately they have to do a little bit more, until things stabilise in the economy,”  said Dr Mungofa.

The HSB members also had an opportunity to tour the hospital, which has partnered the private sector to improve infrastructure at the institution.