Govt slated over nurses crisis

HARARE - Government has come under fire for dragging its feet on securing employment for over 4 000 nurses stranded after completing their training, with the deputy Health minister saying government was concluding a trade pact with three countries that covet Zimbabwe’s health workers.

This comes as the health system is facing significant job cuts as government tries to reduce costs in line with national funding levels.

The government has frozen nursing posts due to a critical funding shortfall, cleaning out wards, units, or even entire provincial hospitals of critical staff.

Deputy Health minister Aldrin Musiiwa told Parliament last week that the country was still in talks with the three countries.

But parliamentarians accused the ministry of repeating the same statement for years with no concrete update on the progress the country had made to secure employment for the nurses.

“Mr Speaker, the idea of exporting labour in terms of trained nurses was mooted in this Parliament more than four years ago and nothing has happened.

“Can the minister state to the nation when the programme is likely to be implemented; not just the fact that he is going to bring the programme?

“When is it likely to be implemented because we are four years down the line?” Southerton MDC MP Gift Chimanikire said.

Another legislator asked the deputy minister to give specific negotiation details.

“The honourable minister is telling us that there are countries that they are negotiating with.

“Previously, the minister also did tell us that there was a programme where we will be exporting labour; and nurses were on the programme.

“I think the minister needs to tell us which countries are these and how far they have gone with the programme because he keeps telling us about negotiations,” proportional representation legislator Jasmine Toffa said .

Musiiwa said he could not give specific details of the ongoing negotiations as it would compromise the talks.

“I am sorry to repeat. As a matter of procedure, I cannot bring this to the House until it is approved by Cabinet.

“I think it is well and good for me to let you know that in the next quarter, we will be bringing the finished product to Parliament for approval,” Musiiwa said.

“I said that we are in partnership with four countries that we are engaging that we should have bilateral relations, country-to-country so that people will leave with the blessing of the country.

“When the plans are in place, I will bring them to Parliament; they have to be approved by Parliament.”

The country has about 3 150 registered general nurses who have graduated and are out of employment as well as 1 100 primary care nurses who have also graduated and are awaiting employment, according to Musiiwa.

Currently, government is recruiting nurses who graduated during the third quarter of 2013.

“We are currently looking at three countries that have expressed interest in absorbing our nurses. What we are currently looking at is the contracts that these countries are offering and the benefit that it will accrue to the nurses and the country.

“Very soon, we are also working on this strategy. I want to assure you in the next quarter, we will be bringing this strategy to Parliament for approval,” Musiiwa said.

Although health workers have become one of the country’s most valuable exports, sending millions of dollars back to Zimbabwe as remittances and taxes, their exodus is crippling the domestic health system.

Comments (2)

To say the truth, the government is not in any case feeling for the jobless and the hungry. what is delaying them is that thy are negotiating for unrealistic deals that remits a lion share of the spoil to the government for them to steal. Earnestly speaking if there is someone keen to employ nurses, why then is this delay. the minister is talking about the next quarter because his stomach is full. If this task was given to one of the nurse who feels the pain of going for a month without a salary, would it take so long?

chinx - 28 December 2016

To say the truth, the government is not in any case feeling for the jobless and the hungry. what is delaying them is that thy are negotiating for unrealistic deals that remits a lion share of the spoil to the government for them to steal. Earnestly speaking if there is someone keen to employ nurses, why then is this delay. the minister is talking about the next quarter because his stomach is full. If this task was given to one of the nurse who feels the pain of going for a month without a salary, would it take so long?

chinx - 28 December 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.