Nurses cry foul over high certificate costs

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BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GOVERNMENT has doubled application fees for nurses’ confirmation letters and certificates from US$150 to US$300 amid speculation that the move is meant to frustrate them from leaving the country for greener pastures.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) president Enock Dongo told NewsDay that the fee hike was beyond the reach of most nurses whose salaries are paid in local currency.

In a letter dated March 11, 2022, Nurses Council of Zimbabwe registrar Mercy Chaka said nurses should pay US$300 for the certificate.

“The Nurses Council of Zimbabwe wishes to advise nurses that the approved fees for application for certificate of good standing (CGS) and application for the confirmation letters for all the nurses residing in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe is now US$300 and is with effect from January 1, 2022,” Chaka said.

A CGS is a confirmation letter issued by a professional body to a sister body as clearance for a health worker with no hanging disciplinary issues regarding patient care and relations with colleagues.

It also confirms that the holder  has qualified as a nurse after training.

The country has been experiencing brain drain in the health sector, with 2 200 health workers having left the country in 2021.

Dongo said the fees were meant to block health workers from leaving the country.

“This is the most expensive verification.

In some of the countries,  it is actually free to get a letter of good standing and now Zimbabwe charges US$300, which is not being given as salaries to the civil servants themselves.

Nurses will need three to four months without eating to raise such an amount.

That is really ridiculous, they are punishing health workers,” Dongo said.

“Health workers have left the country due to poor working conditions and salaries.

We now have a lot of practitioners who have left the country in search of greener pastures and we have shortages in our hospitals, so it’s a strategy that they have come up with to stop that.

This is totally wrong and unacceptable in a democratic country.

There is no way that you can force workers to work for you.

People have the right to work for the employer of their choice.”

Last year, government set up an inter-ministerial committee to look into the brain drain in the health sector after experiencing a sharp rise in the number of health professionals leaving the country for greener pastures.

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