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Govt dangles carrot to health workers

Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa

Govt dangles carrot to health workers

By Edward Mukaro

GOVERNMENT is set to incentivise workers in the health sector as a means to check ‘brain drain’ in the critical sector, a Cabinet minister has said.

Presenting a recent Cabinet report, minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting services, Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet considered and approved the report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on stemming the brain drain in the health sector.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the public that the Inter-Ministerial Committee identified the causes of the brain drain in the health sector.

“To stem the brain drain, a Committee was therefore set up to look holistically into the following issues: Mechanisms to accelerate the provision of non-monetary incentives, such as staff accommodation, transport, vehicle loans, canteens/ cafeterias; and Wi-Fi- facilities connectivity; Measures to improve the remuneration of Tutors in Nurses Training Colleges and administration of Nurses Training Colleges,” said Mutsvangwa.

She added: “Judicious adjustment of monetary benefits; and Addressing the disparity between the urban and rural health personnel incentives in order to attract personnel to rural areas.”

The government spokesperson also said the second republic continues to pursue bilateral agreements with the destination countries for health professionals within the World Health Organisation framework.

Health professionals have in the recent past engaged in strikes and stay-aways from their workstations, pressurising the employer to address poor wages and working conditions, with opting for greener pastures in neighbouring countries, Europe and the US, amongst others.

There are also fears that once travel restrictions caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic have relaxed an exodus of health professionals may loom.

Recently, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) warmed that the country is on the verge of a massive brain drain in the health sector once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

In July 2020, there were legal changes in immigration requirements to the United Kingdom (UK), which facilitate the easier relocation of appropriately trained and experienced health professionals to that country.

While the move by the UK government will strengthen its own health system, it will undoubtedly cause an increase in outward migration of well-trained and experienced Zimbabwean health workers looking for an opportunity for better working and living conditions.

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