douglas.jpgThe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has finally been given the green light to fill just 950 out of the 1 700 nursing vacancies that exist in government institutions.

The decision came out of the ongoing negotiations that are taking place between the Ministries of Health and Finance.

An acute shortage of midwives in most government institutions is hampering the delivery of health services for pregnant women.

 

Government hospitals and rural clinics across the country are operating with few nurses than the actual staff establishment requirements, despite the country having more than a thousand state registered nurses who are unemployed.

 

Efforts to have the trained nurses absorbed in the public sector met stiff resistance from the Ministry of Finance which cited lack of funds to cover for the wage bill.

 

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Douglas Mombeshora, said negotiations between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance are still ongoing but so far approval to employ just less than a thousand nurses has been granted.

Dr Mombeshora said the shortage of midwives is having a severe impact on Zimbabwe’s chances of meeting Millennium Development Goal 5, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015.

 

A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Health showed that at least 65% of the posts for midwives and theatre nurses were vacant in the public sector.

 

According to the UNFPA the shortage of skilled and competent midwives can avert 80% to 90% of maternal deaths.

To offset the shortage of midwives in the country the government has started training Primary Care Nurses in midwifery so as to equip them with fundamental midwifery skills as a stop gap measure.