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Zimbabwe, 'exporting jobless nurses might benefit government'

by Byo24NEWS
18 Jan 2011 at 02:14hrs | Views
Due to the rising numbers of jobless nurses in the country, the government is considering exporting them to neighbouring countries.

Speaking while touring Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital recently, Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the exports would be done through country-to-country arrangements.

About 500 nurses graduate annually from nursing schools countrywide.

Eight provincial hospitals produce about 160 graduates annually, mission hospitals 120, Impilo Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals 80 combined and Harare Central Hospital, Parirenyatwa Hospital and Chitungwiza Central Hospital 115 graduates collectively.

The minister said Zimbabwe had realised it trained more nurses and exporting them would benefit Government immensely.

"At this rate, we might find ourselves with more nurses than we need, making some of those who we train redundant".

"This makes it imperative to enter into a sort of agreement with some of our neighbours who need their services. We are thinking about it," said Minister Madzorera.

The nurses, he said, would receive special training for a specific market that needed them.

"This will ensure that Zimbabweans go out with dignity knowing that their country and Government is behind them," he said.

Nurses train for three years for a general nursing diploma and the tradition has been that they were immediately employed.

The health sector stopped recruiting after receiving a directive from Treasury in July last year to stop recruiting or filling vacant posts.

"It's not that there are so many nurses in Zimbabwe that the country does not need. We need these people and we are heavily understaffed.

"It's only that we were told not to recruit by Treasury in July last year. Even if we want to fill in say three vacant posts at a hospital, we have to apply for permission from Treasury," said a source in the sector who declined to be named.

There are reports that Government is making its decisions regarding the health sector based on outdated information that was last updated in the 1980s.

"The reality is the workload is too huge for the current number of workers we have. The problem is that recruitment is being done based on current establishment, which was last updated in the 1980s. This means we are using this establishment to recruit workers currently needed in central hospitals and district hospitals. This needs to be revised, things have changed," the source said.

The source decried that the suggestion to export skills was coming after President Mugabe had called on people in the Diaspora to come back home.

Sadc member-states have an agreement that the recruitment of health professionals within the region be undertaken through mutual agreements and through exchange programmes.

This ensures the professionals would return to their countries of origin on completion of their contracts.

Most African countries have been hit by an exodus of health professionals mostly to Europe, especially Britain, but have not complained that much about migration within the region.

Source - Byo24NEWS