Zimbabwe Engages UN To Get Paid For Every Health Worker That Goes Abroad1 year ago
Zimbabwe is engaging the United Nations and other multilateral agencies to help pay the enormous training costs through fair compensation or financial collaboration on the training of health workers as brain drain continues.
If the plan is accepted, Zimbabwe would be on course to recoup some of the millions of dollars it has been spending on training health personnel since independence or be able to train replacements with outside support.
Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga laid out the proposals during an interactive meeting with stakeholders in the health sector in Victoria Falls.
The meeting heard that the Health Services Board had already conducted research on the training costs incurred when training professionals who then emigrated, and had prepared a document which was now with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, through which deliberations would be made.
The country spends US$70 000 annually to train a single doctor, bringing the cumulative cost for full training to around US$350 000, money which the Government now wants to recover through various avenues.
The envisaged compensation or other financial arrangements would then be used to help fund the training of more professionals with trainers saying they are willing to tutor more personnel if required resources are available.
Responding to a question from a leading public health researcher from the Health Ministry, Dr Pisirai Ndarukwa, on what the Government was doing to address the brain drain, VP Chiwenga said:
It is a matter we have now opened for discussion with the United Nations because there are regulations to that effect.
We need to discuss, to say we have trained these people. It takes Zimbabwe US$70 000 per year to train a doctor, and multiply that by the number of years the doctor is trained.
Other governments get paid, so we are following up on this matter and we will be following it up with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr Ndarukwa thank you for inquiring and pushing us but the matter is already being handled.
Zimbabwe wants a situation where countries recruiting locally trained experts pay something so that all parties involved benefit.
The country is facing a shortage of nurses and doctors and needs around 10 000 doctors to cater for its population as prescribed by World Health Organisation standards.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has trained over 50 000 personnel to work in clinical settings and about 40 percent of them are now employed in countries like the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Air Commodore Dr Jasper Chimedza said it was an investment that is done by the Government, “by taxpayers, so it becomes important that we get compensation.”
More: The Herald