Torit Referral Hospital hit by manpower shortage

Torit Referral Hospital hit by manpower shortage
Medical Director of Torit Hospital, Dr. John Isaac, speaks to media at his office on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 (photo credit: William Maduok)

The referral hospital in Eastern Equatoria State’s capital, Torit, has been hit by a shortage of human resources which has downgraded the healthcare services, the state Medical Director, Dr John Isaac has said.

Dr. Isaac said more than half of the 320 healthcare officials of the hospital have not been reporting for duty following the placement of 80 of their colleagues on the partners’ support scheme this year.

As a result, Dr Isaac said staff who solely rely on the government’s salary decided to abstain from duty, making work a challenge to the few who receive a monthly allowance from the partners.

“The main challenge facing the hospital is the shortage of human resources. The total number of staff [in Torit Hospital] is 320 staff which is not the actual number of staff who are doing the work here,” Dr Isaac said.

He added: “Simply because the partner which is supporting us came up with a recommendation from the national ministry of health, indicating the number of staff that they want to support,” he said.

Dr Isaac continued, “the number is supposed to be 88, this number is what the partner is supporting, and the other people who are not supported, who are not benefiting usually don’t come to work.”

Established in 1948 as a health unit, Torit hospital gradually developed to become a civil hospital in the 1980s and finally was upgraded to a state hospital in 2005 after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The hospital which now serves more than 200, 000 people statewide, has five main wards with a capacity of 150 beds, in addition to receiving 400 – 500 daily outpatients.

Speaking to the press at his office on Wednesday, Dr. Isaac said the workload at the hospital coupled with the shortage of staff has eroded the quality of services.

 “We have only five lab technicians who are doing the work, so we end up dividing them one person per shift and the work they are doing is too much.,” said Dr Isaac

“This is one of the areas we are facing problems in, [and] this is reflected in the low-quality task, sometimes the task will not be accurate because if one person is the only one doing the work, the quality of the work is likely to be affected,” he added.

Dr. Isaac said the state ministry of health has been informed of the challenges but is yet to deliver on its promises to address the matter.

“We are working under difficult conditions because of these and we have presented [the problems] to the state’s Ministry of Health, [and] they promised to work on it with partners to employ more staff,” he said.

He called on the government and partners to provide not only provide a solution to the shortage of staff but to ensure enough regular medical supplies to the hospital to cater for the growing numbers of patients in the state. 

“The problem is the middle-level cadres, the lab technicians, nurses and midwives, and the clinical officers. These are the much-affected areas.” 

“We need to make sure we address the issue of human resource which is very important and to provide enough supply [of drugs] because the supply we are getting is not enough,” he urged.