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Ilanga Provincial Newspapers

Gwanda gets specialist doctors

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GWANDA Provincial Hospital, which in the past did not have resident medical
specialists now has a gynaecologist, a general surgeon and an orthopaedic surgeon.

This development allows patients to undergo major surgeries in Gwanda instead of
having to travel to Bulawayo to access such services.

The hospital also took delivery of a second kidney dialysis machine, courtesy of
Stanbic Bank, again increasing the number of patients benefiting from the provincial
health facility.

The Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matabeleland South, Dr Evelyn
Ndlovu, who was on a familiarisation tour recently also provided a refrigerator for
staff in the female ward at the hospital, and milk supplements for an abandoned
baby, who is being cared for by staff at the hospital.

To ensure that the specialists will not be wasted by being idle without the requisite
tools, the hospital also received supplies to enable them to carry out their duties
unhindered.

Briefing the Minister, Gwanda hospital acting Head of Services and Administration,
Sibonakaliso Ndlovu, welcomed the change in specialist medical staff but said it
needs 13 more doctors to adequately service its catchment area. It currently
operates with six doctors and specialists.

The Minister was told of how the shortage of doctors was straining the few they had
who are compelled to work for longer hours.

The Gwanda Provincial Hospital is a referral centre and services Beitbridge,
Gwanda, Matobo and Insiza districts.

The shortage of doctors means current staff has to work for about 130 hours a week
instead of 56 hours prescribed in their contracts.

In an interview resident gynaecologist, Dr Shadreck Gororo, attributed the problem to
lack of housing facilities.

“Currently, we have six doctors against an establishment of 19. We have a serious
challenge on staff houses, hence we have few doctors.

“However, the institution has the capacity to accommodate more specialists although
the area space for houses is constricted.

“I know there are plans to construct a new Provincial Hospital on the new site. Our
hope is to have that done as soon as possible because of the urgent need for
doctors,” said Dr Gororo.

The Minister’s tour also saw them visiting the renal unit, which is run by two
specialist nurses and has two dialysis machines for patients with chronic condition.

“We have a significant number of our clients with chronic diseases coming from rural
areas in Matabeleland South. Our renal unit has the capacity to house five machines
but now we have only two.

“Thank God to Stanbic Bank, who donated one machine two years ago.

“We are receiving more patients, hence it would have been good to have a specialist
physician. After going through dialysis our patients must be attended to by a
physician, rather going to Bulawayo.

“Patients on dialysis need regular reviews by physicians, hence we need a resident
physician so that we complement the service that we are offering,” he said.
Besides the shortages of doctors, the health institution also hit a massive nurse
exodus.

The hospital has an establishment of 448 staff members but have 370 in post leaving
them with a deficit of 78 vacancies.

The most affected departments are the midwives, who are supposed to be 163
against 125 in post and 37 vacancies. There are three specialists instead of nine.

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