Local nursing staff have asked the government to equip health workers to combat the brain drain that has led to hundreds of health professionals leaving the country in search of better opportunities.
In an interview with 263Chat, Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union(ZPNU) spokesperson, Douglas Chikobvu expressed concern at the continued loss of highly experienced and qualified health professionals due to poor working conditions.
” This massive exodus saw most of our health workers moving to the diaspora to find a living wage. First, nurses began calling in uncontrollable tears and pleading for a living wage. This has led to a new wave brain drain. “Maasly wages and a dire shortage of tools for trade, as well as poor working conditions, have all prompted nurses to leave the country,” Chikobvu said.
Chikobvu asked the government for a financial model to improve working conditions of health workers.
” The government should create a lucrative wage structure, equip health facilities with the latest equipment, and improve conditions. Recent retirees of nurses are suffering from poverty due to their poor retirement benefits. The young and energetic nurses have started to look for other employers to brighten their professional futures. We see a health catastrophe if the government doesn’t create a series of attractive and lucrative measures to curb brain drain,” Chikobvu said.
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Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa (ZCSA) has blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for paying “slave wages” which the organisation blamed for massive brain drain.
“What is needed is to try to balance the two. We have the SADC protocol which states that member countries should not recruit medical personnel from other countries where they are in shortage. On the other hand, there are Zimbabwean health workers who are unpaid and living in poverty and are seeking greener pastures.
“A domestic worker in South Africa earns more than what a medical professional earns in Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe is unable to pay its workers. “It is crucial that the SADC protocol be reviewed. We need to balance workers’ interests and Sadc’s,” stated Ngqabutho Mabhena, ZCSA chairperson, while speaking to the media.