Govt recruits 1 600 nurses
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has recruited 1 600 nurses from July to date following the approval by Cabinet for the ministry to recruit 2 000 nurses to cushion the high demand of the health practitioners in the country.
The country has a shortage of more than 8 000 nurses in public health institutions. The vacancies had not been filled following the freezing of nursing posts by Government in 2014.
Speaking during a nurses’ graduation ceremony at Gweru Provincial Hospital on Friday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the Government had recruited 1 600 nurses under the first phase and were looking forward to recruiting the remaining 400 by January next year.
“You are aware that we have had a problem of nurse shortages. At one stage we had 4 000 unemployed nurses in this country and yet we wanted 8 000 nurses. I’m glad to say we have so far absorbed 1 600 nurses and this will go a long way in addressing the needs of nurses unemployment. We want to ensure that we absorb all the unemployed nurses,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said shortage of midwives in the country has culminated in the high maternal deaths that the country has recorded in the past few years.
“I’m also aware that the total number of midwives in the country is 6 000 who are in the public sector. I was surprised because there is a gap and we need some more. In the private sector we have only 698. All of them were trained here.
“The maternal mortality rate is still high. Last year we had 514 maternal deaths per every 100 000 births which is a drop from the previous year when we recorded 960 deaths per every 100 000 births,” he said.
The graduation ceremony coincided with the launch of the cervical cancer prevention and control strategy 2017-2020.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the country was targeting to vaccinate girls in primary schools that are not yet sexually active by 2018 in an endeavour to reduce cases of cervical cancer. He said his ministry was set to roll out a national cervical cancer prevention programme among young women aimed at reducing prevalence of the disease.
“The cancer burden in Zimbabwe is growing and we are now targeting to increase prevention efforts among young girls who are not yet sexually active. As of 2018 we are targeting to vaccinate all Grade Five girls,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the risk of cervical cancer was much higher in HIV positive women. He said Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world.
“Data from the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry shows that cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women.
“From the 3,96 million women aged between 15 and above who may be at risk of developing cervical cancer, it is estimated that every year 2 270 women are diagnosed with cancer and 1 451 die from the disease.
“The HIV and Aids pandemic has worsened the picture of the cervical cancer disease, and a 16 percent prevalence rate has been noted among women.”
Meanwhile, a donation of cancer screening machines known as Colposcopy machine and Loop excision and electrocautery Procedure (LEEP) was handed over to Gweru Provincial Hospital from the World Health Organisation and United Nations Population Fund.
Dr David Parirenyatwa