Some people in Engela Constituency are accusing the local nurses of being rude, nonchalant and arrogant towards state patients.
Engela Constituency Councillor Jason Ndakunda last week confirmed having been informed about the nurses’ alleged arrogance.
He said health workers must be trained in customer care and should be able to work under pressure in compliance with their duties.
“Nurses and other health personnel need to improve the service to the patient, not mistreat and be rude to them,” he said, adding that people need access to information so that community members make better use of the services of health extension workers.
He said due to the shortage of qualified medical professionals, the service is insufficient, partly due to the heavy workload of the health workers. He also noted that Engela District Hospital needs 19 doctors to meet the requirement, but has only about 11.
“All the professionals are understaffed, including nurses and radiologists,” he pointed out. “Those professionals are overloaded. The faculty of medicine should increase the annual intake to train more health workers to fill all the vacant positions in the sector,” Ndakunda opined.
He further suggested that all nursing schools should take in the maximum number of students. “That’s why you find people camping outside the hospital. People do not want to visit clinic and utilise the clinic,” he further stated.
The community also senses that the nurses seem frustrated. “The way they talk to us is unprofessional. They are not friendly. Something needs to be done,” said one of the residents of Engela.
Contacted for comment the public relations officer in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Manga Libita, confirmed that there is a shortage of health workers – not only in Engela but countrywide.
“The ministry is busy resolving the situation. Please remember that these are scarce professionals that one cannot just pick from the streets,” said Libita. She however assured the public that the ministry of health would soon put in place strategies to address the chronic shortage of nurses.
“On the issue of staff being rude, we want to urge the public to report such incidences right away to the head of such an institution. This will help us identify who these staff members are and they will be dealt with accordingly, instead of generalising,” she advised.
She pointed out that not all nurses are rude, as some are highly committed and compassionate health workers, although their image as health professionals is often tarnished by what she alluded to as a few rotten apples that are a disgrace to the profession.