KanyambaLevel One Hospital in Lusaka delivers about 900 babies every month, the situation which compels mothers to share one bed, hospital authorities have disclosed. And the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) yesterday employed over 100 volunteer nurses and clinical officers at Chawama and Matero Level One hospitals.
The baby boom in Kanyama came to light when PSMD Permanent Secretary Boniface Chimbwali and Public Service Commission chairperson Dickson Chasaya visited the hospital to familiarise themselves with its operations. Kanyama Level One Hospital acting nursing officer Christine Nyoni said the institution delivers between 20 and 40 babies per day.
“We compete with the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in terms of deliveries,” she said. Over the past three months, UTH, the country’s main referral institution, has been recording an average of 40 births per day. Of these, 20 are normal births while 20 others are through caesarian, according to senior medical superintendent for woman and newborn, Maureen Chisembele.
And Ms Nyoni said due to the high number of deliveries, three mothers have to share one bed. “We have a challenge with beds, we have 14 beds and out of these, three are reserved for post-caesar mothers and the rest have to share the remaining beds,” she said.
The number of deliveries at the Kanyama health facility is almost the same as at Matero Level One Hospital where about 25 to 30 babies are also born every day. Earlier, Mr Chimbwali’s team visited Chawama Level One Hospital where patients complained about standing in queues for a long time without being attended to.
“We come here very early in the morning and workers take long to attend to us. When it’s lunch time, they go and only return after 14:00 hours, which is not fair,” one of the patients said. Sister-in-charge Idah Sakala said it takes long to clear patients because of a shortage of staff.
Ms Sakala said there are 120 nurses and the hospital needs about 80 more to operate effectively.
Later, the team visited Matero Level One Hospital where it was impressed with the cleanliness of the institution. And Mr Chimbwali said volunteers commit themselves to duty despite not getting paid, hence the need to employ them immediately. “Volunteers throughout the country will be the first to be considered when we start employing,” he said.
Mr Chimbwali urged all nurses, clinical officers and other health professionals who are not yet in employment to consider volunteering so that they can be considered first when recruitment starts. “For today, we have confirmed these recruitments and we will continue recruiting to fulfil our promises,” he said.
While at Matero Level One Hospital, one of the volunteer clinical officers, John Ng’andu, who has been offering free labour for over a year, was found attending to a patient and Mr Chimbwali broke the good news that he had just been given a job.
“You have been very hard-working, these are the people we need to promote. So from today, you have been confirmed as clinical officer,” he said.
Mr Ng’andu could not hide his joy as he thanked God for making his dream come true. “I thank God for this opportunity, and I promise to work even harder,” he said.
Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president David Chiyobe commended Government for employing the volunteers and urged those in charge of salaries to immediately include the new workers on the payroll.