by ROBERT TAPFUMANEYI (Staff Writer)
Harare – The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Charles Ray said his embassy will continue to support the health system in the country as it tries to recover from a decade of meltdown.
The Ambassador was speaking Tuesday, at the official handover ceremony of computer software and a generator donated by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The donation worth about US$31,000 is part of a national electronic health workforce database (or Health Resource Information System- HRIS) designed to provide more reliable information on workforce demographics, training needs, migration patterns and workforce capacity.
Mr. Ray emphasized that the donation is part of his embassy’s initiative to try and create an integrated information system on the available human resources for the nation’s health sector, to allow for better planning and effective management of the human resource in the sector.
“The National Health Resources System (HRIS) is a critical component for a comprehensive workforce development strategy and this can help decision makers in government to identify gaps for new service providers, vacancies in geographical areas, training needs, and provide an evidence base for a training strategy” said Ambassador Ray.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr Henry Madzorera said qualified nurses in the country were among civil servants “selling tomatoes” as they shun the not so handsomely rewarding health sector.
Madzorera said “the brain-drain was debilitating on Zimbabwe’s health sector” with more than 2000 vacancies currently available for senior nurses, as most nurses leave for greener pastures abroad in countries such as Great Britain, New Zealand, and Australia, and also to countries within the region, especially Botswana and South Africa.
One of the challenges in most developing countries, including Zimbabwe, is a lack of adequate systems to analyze workforce dynamics. The establishment of a functional system is the first step the health sector is undertaking to boost the organizational culture of evidence-based planning and strategic thinking.
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