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Govt gags nursing schools, as interviews begin

Interviews for prospective student nurses have started across the country, amid reports that training institutions are under strict instructions from the Ministry of Health and Child Care not to publicise information on the successful candidates.

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.

The current interviews for prospective trainee nurses will run from Monday to Friday.

In Bulawayo, the interviews will be done at Mpilo School of Nursing and United Bulawayo Hospitals School of Nursing.

Sources told CITE that the head office in Harare gave strict instructions to nursing schools to keep names of candidates confidential, to avoid the drama that took place last year.

“The list was not even shared with hospital bosses because there is mistrust as to who may leak the candidates` list and it ends up going viral,” the sources said.

Prospective candidates were notified of the interview dates through the online portal.

However, the information leaked resulting in some of the prospective students flooding nursing schools to inquire about the interviews.

“The applicants are told via message through the online portal they applied from to appear for interviews on a particular date. People started sharing that message, thinking others could come for the interviews, which was happened,” the sources divulged. 

As a result, some were turned away from the interviews as their names did not appear on the ministry’s list.

“The ministry communicates through the portal system where they inform one that they are shortlisted. The message from the ministry will indicate the applicant’s name, which is what is required for the interview. The officials conducting the interviews will crosscheck the names on their list and double-check with the ministry if one has a message but their name doesn’t appear on the shortlist,” the sources said.

“The head office was clear that the information is confidential and no one wants to take a risk and share information out of fear of being identified. This is why hospital bosses are only told the school is having interviews and that’s that. Maybe this is because hospital bosses implicated the ministry when the issue of e-recruitment came out.”

Reached for a comment on how the interviews were progressing, Mpilo Nursing School Principal Tutor, Charity Nyandoro curtly said, “no comment.”

Mpilo Hospital Clinical Director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said, “the executive at Mpilo Central hospital is not in any way involved” in the interviews.

Last year in October, out of 24 student nurses who were sent to Mpilo, only four were local.

After CITE published that 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. 

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