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Zimbabwe government starts recruitment of doctors and nurses

by Staff Reporter
02 Apr 2017 at 07:23hrs | Views
RECRUITMENT of nurses and doctors that has been on hold since 2012 has started in earnest with the first batch of 500 nurses expected to start work this month, a Cabinet Minister said on Friday.

Responding to questions from journalists after touring Shurugwi District Hospital, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said the nurses would be recruited in four batches of 500 after Treasury recently approved the employment of 250 doctors and 2 000 nurses countrywide. Stakeholders in the health sector, however, say they require 10 000 nurses to boost their establishment.

"The first 500 nurses are starting work now in April. We will be recruiting them in four batches of 500 each," Dr Parirenyatwa said. He said the recruitment of junior doctors would be an ongoing process as they would be absorbed into the system upon completing a year-long internship.

"As for the doctors it is an ongoing exercise where we will be employing them as they finish their internship periods in their various basis but we are moving forward with the exercise and we hope this will go a long way in improving the overall performance of the health sector," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

After completion of their studies, doctors are required to undergo internship before they are given a temporary certificate to practice in a Government institution for another year. The doctors only get an open practicing certificate after completing the additional one year as a Government medical officer (GMO).

Former Health Deputy Minister and now deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Health and Child Care, Dr Paul Chimedza commended the move by Government to recruit more health workers. Dr Chimedza said the move was long overdue as the country had operated with a crippled health sector.

"It's a welcome move considering that we already have a skewed nurses establishment which was last reviewed in the 80s. It was long overdue, as this should have been done a long time ago. I feel the move will go a long way in improving the health delivery system in the country. Of course more still needs to be done. The 2 000 nurses are not enough for us to have the establishment we desire. There are about 4 000 unemployed nurses roaming the streets. We need those to be absorbed into the system and that's something we have to give priority," said Dr Chimedza.

Announcing the opening of 2 250 vacancies for health workers, last month, Dr Parirenyatwa said his ministry was now looking at the provision of posts for other professionals such as pharmacists and laboratory scientists. The Zimbabwe Nurses Association secretary general (ZNA), Mr Enock Dongo, has been on record saying the 2 000 new posts were a drop in the ocean as the country was still short by 8 000 nurses. There are close to 4 000 trained nurses who are not employed following the freezing of posts for health workers by Government in 2012.

The Health Services Board has often called on the Government to lift the freeze on nursing vacancies. Zimbabwe's nurses establishment was last reviewed in 1983. Last month junior doctors went on strike demanding that the Government employs trained junior doctors, failure of which it should grant them their open practice certificates to seek employment elsewhere.

The recruitment is expected to bring a lot of relief to the overburdened health sector establishment that was last reviewed soon after Independence in light of the population increase, increase in the number of health institutions as well as a marked increase in the number of diseases.

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Source - Sunday News