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Health Crisis: Less than 1 Doc/2500 patients
31/12/2016 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
 
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ZIMBABWE continues to operate without enough medical doctors manning its hospitals amid revelations the current doctor to patient ratio stood at an alarming less than one doctor per 2 500 patients.

This was revealed recently by Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Aldrin Musiiwa who said the ideal ratio was at least three doctors per every 1 000 population.  

“Well, in terms of ratio it is 0.0792/1000 population. To put it more simply, we have got less than one doctor for every 2 500 people," Musiiwa said.

He was responding to a question in parliament by Southerton MP, Gift Chimanikire who had asked the health minister to state the current doctor to patient ratio in the country.

Chimanikire has also asked the minister to state the ideal ratio and what steps the government was taking to improve on the situation.

Musiiwa said the country was churning out an average of 360 doctors every year but most of them were being lost to better paying countries.

This, he said, was also caused by lack of enough posts within the profession locally to absorb the newly trained doctors.

He said his ministry was currently lobbying for Treasury to create more posts for the employment of more doctors.

“Actually, in terms of training, we are currently graduating about 360 doctors every year and the problem then comes with retention. Once we have graduated these doctors and deployed them in the system, we are losing a lot of doctors both to the region and internationally," he said.

“Although the replacement rate is okay, we are not retaining enough doctors in the country. So, until we have enough money in Treasury to create more posts, it is going to take some time until we reach the required ratio.”

Musiiwa admitted poor remuneration was pushing trained medical personnel outside the country's borders adding that it was a tall order to encourage them to offer their services within when the economic situation remains in the doldrums.

He added: "However, what we have done as a Ministry, in respect of junior doctors, we have provided accommodation within the institutions which they work on at lower rates.  

"We have also allowed them vehicle loans as a way of retaining them. As to the salaries that we can give them, that is an issue of Treasury."



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The country's health delivery system remains constrained with junior doctors who have chosen to remain in the country often engaging in repeated job actions over poor remuneration.

President Robert Mugabe and top government officials have often been condemned for abandoning the country's deteriorating health systems to seek treatment abroad, quite often at tax payers' expense.

Local hospitals have been condemned as death centres as patients quite often meet their death as a result of lack of medicine, poor equipment and less experienced staff.

 


 
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