Silobela District referral hospital has gone for two years without a doctor as the government struggles to get qualified personnel owing to poor salaries.
Chief Crispen Malisa made a passionate plea on Thursday to Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera to ensure the resident doctor, who died in 2009, was replaced.
“My people are suffering because we have not had a doctor at Silobela District Hospital for at least two years,” he said.
“I appeal to the minster to help ensure that we get a doctor.”
Acting provincial medical officer Patron Mafaune told NewsDay the ministry was seized with challenges faced by Silobela.
“We are doing everything possible to get a doctor down here, but the truth is doctors just don’t want to work in rural areas,” Mafaune said.
“What we have done is to make sure that the hospital has enough ambulances in case there is a medical problem, which needs to be referred to Kwekwe General Hospital.”
Madzorera acknowledged the remuneration structure was not sufficient to entice professionals out of urban areas where they can run private practises, in addition, and earn extra money.
He said Kwekwe Hospital had now become the defacto referral hospital for Silobela. Meanwhile, Madzorera confirmed the freezing of recruitment of nurses remained in place, but said the government would not stop training health workers.
“We train about 2 000 nurses every year and if we stop it means a number of boys and girls would have lost out on skills empowerment.
“You should also be aware the freeze is across all government departments and not only limited to nurses,” he said.
Madzorera said unlike last year when they released nurses they had bonded to seek employment elsewhere, it will not be the case this year.