Zimbabwe to criminalise foreign recruitment of health workers
Zimbabwe to criminalise foreign recruitment?
In a bid to prevent the ongoing loss of valuable healthcare professionals to other nations, Zimbabwe’s Vice-President, Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the health minister, has declared that the country plans to enact a law making it illegal for foreign countries to recruit its health workers.
According to Mr. Chiwenga, the loss of healthcare professionals is comparable to human trafficking, and those who deliberately recruit and cause the country to suffer will face stricter penalties.
The move comes as Zimbabwe’s healthcare system continues to grapple with a long-standing issue of losing medical personnel to countries such as the UK, where wages are higher.
Since February 2021, more than 4,000 nurses and doctors have reportedly left Zimbabwe. The country is currently facing an economic crisis marked by high inflation that has significantly reduced wages.
The shortage of medical professionals has greatly affected Zimbabwe’s healthcare system, leading to inadequate care for patients. People are dying in hospitals because of a lack of medical personnel to attend to them, as Mr. Chiwenga pointed out.
The country’s population of about 15 million people is being served by only 3,500 doctors, according to the Zimbabwe Medical Association.
The UK’s National Health Service has been one of the most attractive destinations for Zimbabwean doctors and nurses, owing to the higher wages compared to those paid back home.
However, the UK recently halted the recruitment of Zimbabwean healthcare workers after the southern African country was placed on the red list by the World Health Organization, signifying a severe shortage of healthcare personnel.
Zimbabwe’s move to enact a law to prohibit the recruitment of its healthcare workers by foreign countries has been welcomed by many, who hope it will help to retain the limited medical personnel available in the country.
The law, if enacted, will also serve as a deterrent to other countries that might want to poach Zimbabwe’s healthcare workers.
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, characterized by high inflation, has made it difficult to attract and retain medical personnel.
However, the government is making efforts to improve the welfare of healthcare workers to encourage them to stay and work in the country.