GOVERNMENT has started recruiting retired nurses who are set to join the national Covid-19 vaccination programme, with around 700 former nurses expected to be drafted into the programme over the next few weeks.
Over 300 retired nurses, who were registered on the Health Services Board (HSB) database, are set to undergo retraining before being deployed to vaccination centres next month.
An additional 100 former nurses have also applied to join the programme after Government advertised new openings a fortnight ago. The first batch of 342 retrained nurses will be deployed to health centres countrywide in September, while another batch of 340 will be dispatched in November.
HSB chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikhosana said the retired nurses will be offered renewable one-year contracts.
“Last year we called on retired nurses to register with us and so far 311 have registered.
“After we flighted an advertisement in the press recently, an additional 148 applied for the posts,” he said.
“We expect the first batch of 342 nurses to come out from retraining and start off in September, with another batch of 340 set to be released from training institutions in November.
“The nurses will be dispatched to health institutions while some go to vaccination centres.”
Dr Sikhosana said their contracts will have an option for renewal.
Some vaccination centres, particularly at council-run clinics, have been struggling to meet demand for vaccination due to staff shortages.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, said the recruitment of more nurses will help oil the inoculation programme.
“The nurses are very important and necessary for our vaccination programme, so we are encouraging them to come in their numbers so that the country reaches herd immunity,” he said.
The retired nurses, who are over 65-years-old, will be stationed at vaccination centres, leaving the already available staff to attend to patients in the wards.
This will help limit their exposure to Covid-19 in the wards.