By Albert Nxumalo
A voluntary non-profit organisation that is assisting aspiring student nurses mainly from Matabeleland region with the application processes -Team 2020- has applauded the Ministry of Health and Child Care for decentralising the interview process for the May intake but raised critical administrative challenges affecting the process.
Interviews began on May 11 and are expected to end on May 15 across the country’s 22 nursing schools.
This is a sharp departure from the January 2020 intake where United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Parirenyatwa Hospital were the only interview centres in the country.
Last year, the online recruitment of nurses drew controversy especially in Matabeleland, as the majority of successful students came from outside the region, with activists and political parties accused the government of deliberately side-lining locals.
“Team 2020, a voluntary non-profit association of activists concerned with administrative justice and devolution of employment opportunities, welcomes the resumption of Diploma in General Nursing May 2020 Intake interviews which are set to run from 11th to 15th May across the country’s 22 Nursing Schools,” said the associations Chief Volunteer Descent Bajila in a statement on Tuesday.
He added, “In particular, Team 2020 congratulates the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) for decentralising the interview process to all the nursing schools. This is a departure from the January 2020 intake where United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Parirenyatwa Hospital were the only interview centres. This decentralisation is a step in the right direction”.
Bajila said decentralisation allows shortlisted candidates to attend interviews at any interview centre near them.
“Every nursing school must be allowed to manage its own applications portal just like universities do.
“This is a welcome move in times of economic hardships, escalating transport costs and travel restrictions. We would however be delighted if this becomes a permanent feature of the nursing students recruitment exercise.”
On Monday, CITE reported that training institutions are under strict instructions from the Ministry of Health and Child Care not to publicise information on the successful candidates.
Prospective candidates were notified of the interview dates through the online portal.
However, despite decentralisation of interviews, Bajila said there are critical administrative challenges that need urgent attention.
“We note that private hospitals like Hwange have been designated as interview centres but no MOHCC officials are present to conduct interviews. This has resulted in applicants from Hwange, Binga and Victoria Falls traveling in vain” said Bajila.
“We further note that a number of applicants who were previously notified of successful shortlisting are being turned away by interviewing panels because their names are not appearing on the list given by MOHCC.
“Such proof of earlier communication on shortlisting as portal account notification or SMS are not being accepted by interviewing panels”.
Last year in October, out of 24 student nurses who were sent to Mpilo, only four were local.
After CITE published the story, ZAPU staged a sit-in at Mpilo Hospital complaining that the bulk of trainee nurses recruited at training institutions in Matabeleland were dominated by non-locals.
Investigations revealed that other rural places such as St Annes in Brunapeg, Mangwe had zero local trainee nurses.
ZAPU also descended on St Anne`s Mission Hospital and temporarily shut down the training school.
The party was prepared to mount a legal challenge against the controversial recruitment of trainee nurses at health institutions in Matabeleland.