Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
VICE-President Kembo Mohadi yesterday said the recent questionable recruitment of student nurses in Bulawayo and other nursing schools in the country’s southern region was against Government’s policy of equality and appropriate measures would be taken to rectify the issue.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Judith Ncube briefed VP Mohadi about the latest development during a Zanu-PF meeting at the party’s Bulawayo provincial headquarters, Davies Hall.
Minister Ncube last week pledged to engage responsible authorities to resolve the issue. She made the commitment after a number of people visited her office and raised concern over the low number of Matabeleland recruits who were selected to undergo training at hospitals in the region.
VP Mohadi described the unfair recruitment of nurses as unacceptable saying there is need for fairness and true representation of people in line with the Government’s policy on devolution.
“I heard that recently there was a recruitment of trainee nurses for Bulawayo hospitals and I am told the process didn’t go well with people from this region after many applicants failed to secure places. We are not happy and as Government, we will address this issue. Government policy is that the recruitment must be done equitably. We don’t want bias in that regard. We are going to look into it so that it is rectified,” he said.
VP Mohadi said the recruitment of nurses should resemble that of the police and the army, which have national representation through a quota system. “You will find that whenever there is a recruitment drive in the army or police, they have what they call a quota system where each and every province brings its own people. The recruitees are then chosen from every district so that the entire country is represented,” he said.
Last week, Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo recruited 24 trainee nurses and 20 were reportedly from Harare, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central. At the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) it is claimed 23 out of the 27 trainees are from outside the southern region.
The southern region is made up of Bulawayo, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces.
Days after publication of the story in the Chronicle, a handful of names of people from the region were allegedly added to the list, seven at Mpilo Central Hospital and three at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that students from Harare province dominated recruitment even after the additions.
The 13 nursing schools in the region recruited 34 percent of their students from the capital, Bulawayo contributed 20 percent, Masvingo 6,3 percent, Midlands 8,4 percent while two percent each were enrolled from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces. Officials at the hospitals said they were not consulted on the enrolment of nurses as they just received lists of names of those who had made it from Harare.
Statistics from the northern region which includes Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces are yet to be availed.
The 13 hospitals that enrolled trainee nurses in the southern region are Tsholotsho and St Luke’s in Matabeleland North, Mashoko, Gutu, Morgenster, Masvingo and Musiso in Masvingo and St Theresa and Muvonde from Midlands.
According to the analysis, UBH only recruited one student each from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South but 10 from Harare. Only four are from Bulawayo and Midlands also contributed.
The Health and Child Care Ministry recently introduced an online nurses’ application forum after investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission concluded there were unacceptable levels of bribery in the old system.
The Ministry’s public relations officer Mr Donald Mujiri said the recent selection was done by a digital system based on qualifications.
Meanwhile, VP Mohadi said the Government will deploy doctors from other arms of State such as the police and army to assist in hospitals following a 40-day industrial action by doctors.
The Labour Court has since declared the industrial action by doctors unlawful and ordered them to return to work within 48 hours.
This comes after the Health Services Board (HSB) had taken the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) to the Labour Court to show cause why the collective job action should not be terminated. Justice Rogers Manyangadze, sitting with Justice Lawrence Murasi, on Friday declared the strike unlawful and ordered the job action to be terminated forthwith. No disciplinary action will be taken against the doctors. Parties to the Health Service bipartite negotiating panel agreed to a 60 percent increment on health sector-specific allowances last week but the doctors’ representatives turned down the offer. — @mashnets