By LULU MARK
LACK of manpower is a major concern for a clinic in the National Capital District (NCD) planning to resume swabbing for the Covid-19 testing next week.
Sr Maria Runane, the 9-Mile clinic manager, said they started doing triaging when the Covid-19 was announced and continued while swabbing started in June and stopped in September due to issues related to lack of manpower and incentives, which were sorted out last month.
She said because the clinic was located in the middle of a settlement and next to the Sogeri Road and Hiritano Highway, more than 400 patients visited the clinic daily with different medical conditions and there were 10 nurses.
She said of these, four were on sick, recreation or maternity leave which included a nurse who could swab.
Among the six present, she was the only one who could swab but as clinic manager and having to manage operations, attend to patients and meetings, someone else needed to be trained.
“I told them (NCD health authority) to train someone to come and stay fulltime here to swab,” she said.
“Because I have a lot of aging staff, they cannot stand and do the swabbing.
“I was told to have one of my staff do this but we have a lot of programmes here such as HIV/AIDS, family planning and immunisation which each nurse is in-charge of and we are already down with manpower.
“Thus, it is impossible for me to pull one out to do swabbing.
“If I have enough manpower, I can choose one.
“It will be better if a short-term contract staff was sent here to do the swabbing while my staff do the triaging and manage the normal routine services.
“We have our partners, such as Hope World Wide, but they have their own programmes and our support staff are not health professionals and cannot do swabbing.
“We were swabbing around 10 patients daily last year and there were some suspected cases that were transferred.
“There were a lot of patients with cough and flu-like symptoms but many chose not to be swabbed which we respected and provided treatment.”
Runane added that their laboratory was extended and the clinic hoped to get a GeneXpert machine this year so that could help run tests.
By LULU MARK