Govt re­cruits 1 600 nurses

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - National/gender/health News - Mun­yaradzi Musi­iwa Mid­lands Re­porter

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

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