Council needs additional $5M to operate 24 hour clinics

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it will require an additional $5 million if it is to operate its clinics 24 hours every day.

This is after some residents petitioned the local authority to have its health centres operate round the clock.

Currently, municipal clinics operate for about 8 hours during week days only except for the maternity wards which operate 24 hours including weekends.

According to the proposed 2019 council budget, the local authority would need to beef up its staff complement at an additional cost of $4 996 939.

Council clinics at the moment have a staff complement of 164 nurses against a required pool of 313 nurses.

“There will be need for 70 Registered General Nurses, 30 Senior Clerical Assistants, 30 Nurse Aides, 30 Security Guards and 30 Cleaners,” council said.

“Government is mandated to provide these 24-hour health services, it must reimburse 50% of costs to the City but have not done so since the 1980’s”.

Currently, municipal clinics gobble $30 million annually and only make an annual income of $19million.

“Clinic fees are heavily subsidised,” the council noted.

“All Maternity Centres open 24 hours (albeit manned by skeletal staff on 12-hour shifts). Two district hospitals have been proposed and sites identified by Government.

“This means additional costs would be added to budget effecting an increase in rates, supplementary charges and household. Majority of Primary Health Care patients fall in non-paying category.

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