All 849 qualified nurses listed with the Health Services Board as not in employment have now been hired by the Government along with available doctors and environmental health technicians to boost the Covid-19 teams and other medical services.
And qualified nurses who want to work but were not listed have been invited to apply to the Health Services Board so they too can be taken into service.
Further training slots will now be created to continue to boost numbers since nurse training is done on the job, so recruits can be used during training for some duties.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has been expanding its professional staff as fast as possible to cope with the demands arising from Covid-19.
In the second half of last year, 473 nurses were put under Government employ together with 108 doctors and 28 environmental health technicians.
Last month, another 376 nurses were employed with 200 already deployed and the other 176 going to their hospitals and other stations this week.
“The database of nurses that was deposited at Health Services Board has been exhausted,” said the Ministry of Health and Child Care spokesperson Mr Donald Mujiri. “This week we are deploying the final batch of 176 nurses we recruited and priority will be given to centres with more Covid-19 beds.
“Three weeks ago, we deployed 200 nurses to different hospitals who were recruited this year.”
Mr Mujiri invited any qualified nurses who were still not employed and who were willing to sign up, to follow the application procedures with the board to enable them to join service.
Those not on the database could be engaged; there were some, for example, who had been deregistered with the Nurses’ Council when they were working outside the country but have come back.
Facilities that cater for more Covid-19 cases to be prioritised include Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospitals and Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital.
The Health Services Board has around 18 000 nurses under its employ, but was looking at increasing the figure to cope with the surging workload.
Ordinarily, public institutions were recruiting a total of between 450 to 600 nurses for training at one go, but more institutions like Chivhu Hospital now have the facilities to train nurses.
“We now have more hospitals that can train nurses like Chivhu, that was not training but is now training and when the new recruitment begins, we expect more than we used to have,” said Mr Mujiri.
“What is important to note is that the training of nurses is a hands-on training and as soon as they are recruited for training, they join the service and start helping othersalready on the job.”
A large number of nurses who left public service joined companies which were compelled to recruit nurses in compliance with Covid-19 control measures. Many local companies turned to Government institutions for nurses to be added to their staff to boost capacities for Covid-19 screening.
Zimbabwe is renowned for its excellent human capital base and many countries last year turned to the country for expertise in health professionals.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is now working on a roll out plan and deployment strategy in preparation for Covid-19 vaccines.