Central Province minister Davies Chisopa has dismissed claims that patients at Ngabwe clinic are being attended to by cleaners and says the officer manning the health post is a trained community health worker.
Sources in Ngabwe yesterday told the Daily Nation that the health post has had no medical personnel for the past two months and that patients going to the health facility were being attended to by the cleaners who had no medical experience to handle them.
The sources said the patients had no choice but to be subjected to mediocre services offered by the untrained staff because the only alternative health institutions were in Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi which were in the range of over 100 kilometres apart.
The sources called on relevant authorities to investigate the abrupt departure of the health officer whose alleged removal had created a health service delivery vacuum among the communities in Ngabwe.
“It looks like this man was removed abruptly because some people were trying to make a cover-up on some criminal activity but because it was done abruptly and before his replacement could come in this has created a problem here.
“We want to know why he left in such a hurry because this has affected all of us. We cannot continue to be attended to by cleaners who do not have any idea of what they are doing simply because they are working for the clinic,” the source said.
But when contacted for a comment, Mr. Chisopa said while it was true that there has been no qualified nurse at the institution since December last year, the person manning the health facility was not a cleaner but a qualified community health worker.
He said rumours that the facility did not have qualified personnel were not true because the Ministry of Health could not allow a facility to be operated by someone who had no idea about medicine.
“That story is not true. What happened is that the male nurse who was manning that facility was transferred at the end of last year and before the replacement could be made, a qualified community health worker has been providing health services to the people in Ngabwe and so to say that the clinic is manned by cleaners is not correct,” Mr. Chisopa said.
He said the Ministry of Health in the province had already made a replacement for Ngabwe clinic and will follow up the matter to ensure that the person who was transferred to Ngabwe moved there and started working immediately.
“I have a report on my desk which shows that another nurse was transferred to Ngabwe last year in December. I am going to follow up this matter to know if this person has already gone there.
“If this person has not reported for work already, we shall ensure that he or she is dealt with accordingly because we cannot afford to have a situation where an individual is paid for the job he or she is not doing,” he said.