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Zimbabwe has over 4,000 loafer nurses – Minister

01/01/2017 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Aldrin Musiiwa
 
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AT LEAST 4,250 qualified general and primary care nurses are currently roaming the streets due to unemployment, a government minister has revealed.

It has emerged that some nurses who were trained as far back as 2013 were still to find employment as government dithers on upgrading an outdated recruitment system that provides less jobs for the care workers.

“At the moment, we have about 3,150 registered general nurses who have graduated and are out of employment. 

“Besides that, we also have 1,100 primary care nurses who have also graduated and are awaiting employment,” Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Aldrin Musiiwa said in parliament recently.

He was responding to a question by Southerton legislator Gift Chimanikire who had asked the minister to state the number of trained graduate nurses who are currently unemployed in Zimbabwe.

Chimanikire also asked what remedial action the ministry was taking to ensure that the training programmes are of economic value.

Musiiwa continued: “As I said before, we trained for the national needs.

“The current establishment is very low. It was an establishment that was given to us in 1982 when the country’s population was only seven million and the disease burden was much less. 

“If we could have fiscal space, then we would be able to absorb all the nurses that are on the streets at the moment.”

To mitigate this situation, Musiiwa said, government was exploring ways through which it could “export” the trained labour pool to countries in need.

Export option

He said the matter was now before cabinet adding that the nurses were earmarked for four countries.

However, MPs queried why the government was taking its time to dispatch the trained health personnel as this has been on the cards for nearly four years.

Musiiwa said government was currently looking at the contracts that the unnamed countries were offering and the benefit that it will accrue to the nurses and the country.

The government official said when recruiting nurses, they were employing a first come first serve strategy which entailed absorbing those who graduated earlier than the unemployed lot.

He further said trained nurses who were roaming the streets remained on the government radar for skills upgrading, as a pre-condition, under the auspices of the Nurses Council.



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The nurse situation is however in sharp contrast with that affecting doctors as it has emerged the country was operating with less than 2,500 in its hospitals.

This is due to a recurrent brain drain which has seen doctors leave the country in their droves to seek better paying opportunities abroad.

Zimbabwean labour is on demand in the southern African region and abroad.

Since the onset of the country’s economic crisis some 16 years ago, a lot of Zimbabwean nurses have found employment within British care work systems.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told parliament in 2015 government would soon send its unemployed nurses to South Sudan to ease growing joblessness within the profession.

This followed a government decision during the GNU tenure to freeze any further recruitment into the country’s bloated civil service, now said to be hovering above half a million.


 
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