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Nehanda Guardian Provincial Newspapers

Mass Exodus Of Nurses Rocks City Council Clinics

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MUTARE-Mutare City Council clinics have been hit by a mass exodus of
nurses a development that has crippled the health delivery system which is
operating below capacity.

The local authority currently receives an average of 10 resignations per month
resulting in a workforce of not more than, 70 personnel manning seven council
clinics which have a carrying capacity of 170 nurses.

Nurses resigning have cited poor salaries and working conditions with most of
them being forced to seek greener pastures in the NGO sector and abroad.

The Acting Town Clerk, Blessing Chafesuka said they are now fearing for the
worst as the local authority is failing to offer health services over the weekends
and if the situation is not resolved soon, it is likely to turn into a health
catastrophe.

“The brain drain of our firefighters and nurses, who are drawn to Saudi Arabia
and Europe, is a severe problem for us. Our reliance on temporary nurses has
increased due to the high rate of nurse attrition. We started off with 170 nurses,
but now we have fewer than 70, and we hire new nurses every month. Due to
that severe scarcity, some of our clinics have ceased to have staff on weekends,”
said Chafesuka.

He said the shortage of nurses is compromising the quality of health as patients
cannot be attended to on time.

The local authority runs Chikanga, City Center, Dangamvura, Fern Valley,
Gimboki, Hobhouse, and Forbes Border Post clinics.

He said the situation was also the same within the fire department with
firefighters seeking job opportunities abroad.

“We are also facing the same challenge within the fire department as the
members of staff are again seeking greener pastures elsewhere,” he said.

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, thousands of healthcare workers have
left parts of Africa or Southeast Asia for better opportunities in wealthier
countries in the Middle East or Europe.

This exodus of nurses is making an already weak system weaker, increasing the
burdens on the nurses left behind and leaving them exhausted, burned out—and
looking for a way out too.

Around the world, covid-19 and the burnout it caused among health workers has
intensified a global bidding war for nurses, as rich countries attempt to shore up
their depleted healthcare workforces.

For some nurses, taking a job in a foreign country can provide better pay and
working conditions, as well as opportunities for further education and career
advancement.

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