The Parliamentary Committee on Health and Social Welfare yesterday heard that the exodus of health workers from rural to urban areas would be solved by making the rural retention scheme a reality to benefit all health workers.
Presenting the current health situational analysis to the committee, Kasempa Clinic Health Director, Sikota Lutangu, attributed the exodus of health workers from Kasempa district to lack of retention incentives.
Mr. Lutangu said rural health centres have had many challenges in providing acceptable health care services to rural people because of the shortage of medical staff.
He observed that the retention scheme in rural areas has not impacted positively on the health workers, adding that the scheme was just on paper and not a reality.
He explained that health workers in the district have not been enjoying the conditions spelt out in the retention scheme.
“The challenges brought about by the exodus of health workers are many but the problem would be alleviated if the government incentives covered all the cadres at health centres”, he said.
Mr. Lutangu noted that most workers in the health sector were willing and ready to work in remote areas of Kasempa district if they were provided with incentives such as transport.
Mr. Lutangu said the health workers in the district have however, worked hard to bring down the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate to 8 per cent from the previous 15 per cent in the whole district.
He said among the many problems the clinic was faced with was the lack of a laboratory to test HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
He said most of the people seeking VCT services were referred to Mukinge Mission Hospital.
He was speaking when a Parliamentary committee on Health and Social Welfare toured Kasempa main clinic and Mukinge Mission Hospital to establish challenges the health sector is faced with a rural areas.
Among the members of the committee that were in Kasempa, were Chikankata Member of Parliament (MP), Munji Habeenzu, who is the Chairperson for the committee, Ndundumwezi MP, Edgar Sing’ombe, MP for Mandevu, Jean Kapata, and MP for Chingola, Joseph Katema.
And Mukinge Mission Hospital Executive Director, Jairos Fumpa, attributed the shortage of health workers at the hospital to delay in processing the retention schemes.
Mr. Fumpa said no health worker has benefited from the rural retention scheme, adding that papers have been submitted to the government but no positive results have been realised.
He said the hospital was facing a critical shortage of health workers which has resulted in other members of staff working extra hours in order to provide quality health care services for the people of Kasempa and Mufumbwe district.
Mukinge Mission Hospital offers first level medical and surgical care to both Kasempa and Mufumbwe districts.
And speaking after touring the health centres, Committee Chairperson, Munji Habeenzu, assured the two directors that the problems their institutions were facing would be forwarded to relevant authorities.