Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zambia in 25,000 health staff deficit
By Cynthia Phiri in Choma
Sun 02 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

HEALTH minister Joseph Kasonde says the country only has about 35,000 health staff out of the 60,000 total work force required to be deployed across the country.

Addressing health personnel at Choma General Hospital yesterday, Dr Kasonde said Zambia had a deficit of 25,000 health staff, adding that the government was working at recruiting more staff to fill the many vacancies in the health establishment.

He said the government, through his ministry, was exploring effective strategies to recruit more staff annually to meet the expected number of health workers.

"As government, we are aware of this critical shortage and are committed to bringing more staff to be deployed in needy institutions like this one," he said.

And Dr Kasonde said the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) was still handling the case hearings of some dismissed nurses after they appealed against their charges to ensure that no one is wrongfully discharged.

He also said the proposal by the Southern Province medical office to turn the old buildings of Choma General Hospital into a nursing school would be supported by the government.

Dr Kasonde, however, noted that the old hospital building could only be upgraded to a nursing school once the hospital had all the specialised personnel in place.

"We intend to increase the recruitment of nurses to 4,000 next year; we have a shortage of 50 per cent on the nursing staff,'' he disclosed.

He urged the workers to remain dedicated and diligent, adding that the government would not tolerate indiscipline and unnecessary strikes.

DR Kasonde was, however, happy with the operations of the new Choma General Hospital project under phase one, which is currently operational.

Construction of the second phase of the hospital, which will comprise a mortuary and other departments, is expected to commence in March this year.

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