Columnists

Ministry of Health simply understaffed

Dear editor,
IT IS in wrong context that the long time spent by patients at several health facilities in this country is due to Facebook browsing (Zambia Daily Mail, June 22, 2018).The human resource of today doesn’t match with the already overburdened patient ration. Most clinics only have two clinicians, two laboratory staff and one pharmacy personnel, who should attend to more than 200-plus patients per day.
We have moved from blind therapy to biochemistry-based diagnosis. For example, if a patient spends 10 minutes with the clinician, he or she is sent to the lab for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) that will take more than 30 minutes and other tests, then gets back to the clinicians to join the queue one finds.
After seeing the clinicians again, a patient spends five minutes, then goes to the pharmacy where they find a long queue. Someone will spend two hours. In Art (antiretroviral therapy) centres, an average of 250 clients should be attended to by two people and this time it is computerised.
The Ministry of Health is just understaffed. There are a lot of nurses, clinicians and all frontline workers who are unemployed. The ministry structure does not meet the current demand. The ministry should make it four lab personnel per clinic and eight clinicians per facility.
Currently at my station, there are only two clinical officers, one at old and one at Art clinic, with more than 200 clients at Art clinic only. The only pharmacy personnel is at Art Pharmacy, the outpatient department pharmacy is assisted by a nurse, depriving others of nursing care and that is how we balance work to keep going.
If we don’t employ more and put on payroll those employed last year, the situation will remain unchanged.
CONCERNED HEALTH WORKER

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