State Media|THE Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Judith Ncube has pledged to engage responsible authorities to resolve the questionable recent recruitment of student nurses in Bulawayo.
She made the commitment after a number of people flooded her office demanding answers yesterday.
Last week, Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo recruited 24 trainee nurses and 20 were reportedly from Harare, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.
At the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) it is claimed 23 out of the 27 trainees are from outside Matabeleland.
Ncube told state media that a number of delegations had approached her raising concern over the handful number of Matabeleland residents who were selected to study nursing in hospitals around the region.
She said she was happy because people exercised their right to question and was going to gladly take their concerns to higher authorities.
“I have been busy attending to more than five delegations who flocked my office this morning seeking answers on what really transpired in the selection of student nurses. Indeed, it’s a serious public concern that should be addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Ncube.
Ncube added that she failed to get hold of both chief executive officers from the hospitals for explanations.
“Now that this issue has been raised it is now my duty to engage higher and responsible authorities for a solution. I will therefore give you guys an update after engaging them,” she said.
Efforts to get a comment from the director of nursing services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Mrs Cynthia Chasokela were fruitless as her phone was not reachable.
The Health and Child Care Ministry recently introduced an online nurses’ application forum after investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission concluded there were unacceptable levels of bribery in the old system. The Ministry’s public relations officer Mr Donald Mujiri said the recent selection was done by a digital system based on qualifications. He referred media to the permanent secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva who was unreachable.
One of the affected residents, Ms Musa Ndlovu said the unfair representation of people from Matabeleland is a reflection of the future challenges that people will have to brace up for.
“They can give all the excuses they want but we know there is no way student nurses at Parirenyatwa or any hospital in Mashonaland will be dominated by people from Matabeleland. Before this whole online policy was introduced, we tried applying in hospitals in the northern region and they bluntly told us to stick to our lanes in the southern region,” she said.
A letter circulating on social media also questioned why the selection and interviews were done “secretly” compared to the past years before online application system was adopted.
“Some of us went and noticed that most of those coming for interviews are mostly from Harare and surrounding areas of Mashonaland East and Central. People from our region did not make it surprisingly but most if not all from other provinces came back to Bulawayo to start school on Monday at Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospitals,” the letter alleges.
“We should start fighting for the statistics in terms of allocation as we have hospitals in Matabeleland like Mpilo and UBH which are as big as Parirenyatwa. Mpilo School of Nursing enrols 25 students per intake, Gwanda 15, St Luke’s 10 while Harare hospital 50, Parirenyatwa 50, Chitungwiza 40.”
They also called on Health Ambassador First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, provincial ministers of state, MPs, councillors, and all activists to demonstrate against corruption.