COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Zimbabwean capital hit by nurses’ exodus

An elderly woman is vaccinated at a local hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe on March 29, 2021. (Photo by Tafadzwa Ufumeli / Getty Images)

Efforts by authorities in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare to accelerate its mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign are facing challenges due to a shortage of staff.

According to city authorities, about 240 nurses have quit the city council to join other organizations as mismanagement continues plaguing the city’s hierarchy.

FILE PHOTO: An elderly woman is vaccinated at a local hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Tafadzwa Ufumeli / Getty Images)

Even though the vaccination campaign is continuing, the efficiency of the exercise has slowed down.

Harare city council used to be one of the best paying employers, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports, but now an exodus of staff is leaving it handicapped at a time it needs as many specialists as possible.

The situation is not unique to Harare though; Gweru City Council also has 31 vacant positions for nurses at its clinics affecting its operations too.

Council clinics are serving up to 50 people per day and in some cases, many people seeking vaccination are turned away.

Earlier this week, the Zimbabwean government announced it had roped in the private sector in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, especially in hotspots as a third wave rages across the country.

The government is rolling out the vaccines free of charge to members of the public at public health institutions, although foreign nationals and tourists can access them at a fee.

Zimbabwe has so far reported more than 91,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,800 deaths.