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PPC Report on Nurse Training Institutions [S.C 12, 2006]
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare
First Session Sixth Parliament, Parliament of Zimbabwe
Presented to Parliament on May 31, 2006

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Your Committee resolved to enquire into the operations of Nurse training institutions due to accumulating concerns. Most institutions complained of budget constraints of running the training institutions, which do not have separate budgets from the main institutions. There have been allegations of irregularities in the recruitment and selection process of trainee nurses. The training institutions do not have adequate learning materials like books and equipment. Accommodation for students is poor and there is inadequate learning space.

Your Committee conducted field visits to confirm the above. Your Committee visited Marondera Government Provincial Hospital, Nyadire, All Souls and Bonda Mission Hospitals. Indeed all the institutions visited confirmed that inadequate financial and Human Resources are affecting their operations. They receive very little grants from the Government such that the Nurse training schools become a burden.

The staffing situation is pleasing as well. Most institutions operate at half or less of the staff establishment. Besides being overworked the clinical tutors and instructors are not happy with their conditions of service, especially those in rural areas. They do not have fixed pay dates and do not enjoy other benefits such as housing and car loans like their counterparts in government.

The students do not have enough resource materials and equipment. Text books in the libraries are outdated. Demonstration equipments like gloves thermometers and dolls are not available. Their instructors do not have transport to supervise them when they go out on attachments. The allowances they receive can not cover their basic needs like transport costs, rentals, food and uniforms. For those in rural areas there is no entertainment.

The pass rates of students in programmes are declining. This can be attributed to the non conducive learning environment and lack of basics for effective learning. The irregularities in the recruitment and selection process also contribute to the failure rates. Incompetent cadres are enrolled into programmes which they do not qualify to enter resulting in them dropping out due to failure.

These challenges faced by Nurse institutions impact negatively on the country’s health delivery system. Firstly the competence of the nurse cadres produced is questionable. The Brain drain will continue unabated if there are no solutions to retain staff within the health sector.

The Government should commit itself and make available adequate resources for health institutions as well as nurse training schools. Mechanisms need to be put in place so that malpractices in the recruitment process are curbed. There is need for a holistic approach to resolve the challenges in Zimbabwe's Health delivery system

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