HealthTalk: Ensure accountability in nurse training recruitment

Those without Mathematics should not be discouraged from applying as they have equal opportunities to be selected for training.

Last week came with sweet news for aspiring nurses in the country as the Health and Child Care ministry advertised for the upcoming nurse training intakes.

Many people have passion for medicine and nursing, but their dreams get shattered when they cannot get places to train.

You hear of applicants who have gone for years trying their luck, but without a single response. Yes, it is possible not to get a response considering the volumes of applications in the hands of the authorities.

The number of places is highly limited with some schools of nursing recruiting less than 20 students while bigger institutions like Sally Mugabe School of Nursing can have as many as 50 students per intake.

 I am sure the Health and Child Care ministry has put in mechanisms to eliminate selection corruption this time.

Corruption is a disease that erodes the fabric of society and weakens the economy, leading to widespread poverty and suffering.

We desire a culture of integrity and transparency at all levels of society. It is only through collective action that we can create a society that is free from the calamitous effects of corruption.

There are many government departments like Vehicle Inspection Department where corruption is known to be rampant and the officers involved are known but without any concrete action being taken against them.

It was gut-wrenching to note that some officials were demanding in excess of US$1000 from applicants for them to be considered.

Allowing interviews to be done by local officials only will be a recipe for corruption and the Ministry of Health should second its officials to conduct the interviews with the assistance of the local staff.

The vulnerable members of society who cannot afford to pay kick-backs should be allowed to train as nurses as well.

Zambia has lately become a training hub for many Zimbabweans with many flocking to the country to train in nursing and medicine.

The training fees are unbearable with fewer guardians or parents affording them. The entry requirements are easier in Zambia than in our country.

It was some few ago that the United Kingdom downgraded some degrees from the University of Zambia, a move which has sparked academic debate everywhere.

All students who train out of the country will have to write conversion exams in this country for them to be integrated into our system.

Zimbabwe is averred for intensive and advanced training and that is the reason why first world countries are busy fishing out workers from us.

The level of brain drain is daunting, with loss of skilled and experienced workforce.

There was debate about the relevance of Mathematics on the required Ordinary Level subjects required for one to enroll for nursing.

According to Statutory Instrument 245 of 2000, English and Science are the only compulsory subjects required and Mathematics is not compulsory, but was used as an added advantage in recruitment and selection.

There is no doubt that English language is a must as most of the teachings are done using English.

There is no doubt that Science is a requirement because what is taught is mainly Science and its branches which include Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Pathology, Community Medicine and many others.

Those without Mathematics should not be discouraged from applying as they have equal opportunities to be selected for training.

It does not mean that if one has no pass in Mathematics, then they cannot calculate doses, count pills, administer drugs, dress wounds, connect drips or catheterise patients.

Zimbabwe has been a training ground for many years and it is time to enforce skills retention.

The mass exodus of healthcare workers should be addressed as a matter of urgency if the country is to achieve a solid health status by 2030.

Human capital development is one of the pillars for Vision 2030 where the country aims to be an upper second income economy where Gross National Income per Capita should range between $4466 and $13846.

A strong health delivery system has six pillars espoused by the World Health Organisation in 2007 and these include service delivery, health workforce, health information systems, medicines, governance and financing.

For health equity and equality to be significant, health financing, health workforce, service delivery and medicines should be aligned properly and it will be easy to achieve universal health coverage. Health and development are symbiotic in nature.

It is time to stem corruption. The recruitment and selection of student nurses should be fair!

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