By Tonderai Saharo
GOVERNMENT should urgently lift its freeze on the employment of nurses and midwives as the country is losing a vital workforce that is key to achieving standard health care systems.
The call was made by senior nurses during the graduation ceremony of atleast 100 nurses at Masvingo provincial hospital school of nursing on Friday.
Government froze the recruitment of workers into the country’s bloated public sector in attempts to control its giant wage bill.
The move saw a rise in unemployed nursing and teaching graduates soon after completing their studies.
“We are training our nurses to serve other nations at the expense of our own health sector,” said a nurse who declined to be named on professional reasons.
“Most of our graduates after completion of their course flock to other countries where employment opportunities are high.
“It’s high time government unfreezes the employment of nurses for the benefit of the country’s health sector.”
The country’s health sector continues on a downward spiral caused by the shortage of essential drugs while already employed nurses are burdened by a high patient to nurse ratio, in most health centres.
Senior government officials now seek medical treatment abroad.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, Masvingo provincial medical director, Dr Amadiof Shamu encouraged the new graduates to be resolute in executing their duties despite poor remuneration.
“We might not be receiving enough wages and at times working under very difficult times but I urge those who are graduating today to remain committed to the cause of saving lives,” Shamu said.
Masvingo provincial minister Ezra Chadzamira said the current administration has a desire to transform people’s livelihoods and it will ensure more nursing graduates are absorbed into the health sector.
“I appreciate the academic journey these nurses and midwives graduates travelled.
“We are determined under our thrust of job creation to absorb the nursing staff who have graduated to fill up essential posts in the public sector.
“Government will fulfil its obligation expected under the social contract between itself and workers,” Chadzamira said.