By Bulawayo Correspondent
BULAWAYO City Health Services Director, Edwin Sibanda, has blamed a shortage of nurses on those opting for employment under council after resigning from government, only to use the better pay to fund their airfare out of the country.
The shortage has seen at least 13 nurses leave service for the UK since January this year.
Sibanda said although the local authority had tried to incentivise health workers, they kept on leaving for greener pastures.
Poor remuneration and working conditions have chased away a considerable proportion of the country’s health sector, which has found better paying opportunities in European developed countries, with some opting for Australia and Canada.
“We are facing a serious challenge of state registered nurses who are leaving council for greener pastures,” said Sibanda.
“Since January this year, 13 nurses have left for the UK while one has died.
“What is happening these days is that nurses now resign from government, where their salaries are low and join council, where they are paid more. They then use their council salaries to buy air tickets to go to the UK.”
Sibanda said some of the nurses are also joining non-governmental organisations (NGOs) where they are paid in foreign currency.
“The nurses’ resignations are very disruptive in terms of service quality because we are now continuously training new people. Apart from that, we are now employing these new nurses on contract terms because the government does not allow us to permanently hire the new nurses,” he added.
Government is already on a two week notice for industrial action, with health workers and other civil servants demanding better salaries.