A government survey has established that only 1% of students seeking to be enrolled in Zimbabwe’s medical schools get placed due to an acute shortage of training facilities, resulting in limited access to such training programmes.
This emerged during a workshop organised by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care titled the ‘Health Labour Market Analysis to Inform Health Workforce Strategic Planning and a Sustainable Health Workforce’ held on 7 February.
Reads in part the survey report tabled at the workshop:
With 397,185 applicants [queuing] for admission in the 2021 academic year, only 4,134 of the prospective health professions students were offered places – 1% of applicants got places to train.
There were an average of 89 applicants competing for every available seat for admission in 2021 – highly competitive. There is a capacity to train 4,476 health workers per year (theoretical capacity). Of the capacity, the production has been 3,334 per year (75% of the theoretical capacity).
The report said there is an average course completion rate of 80.6% for health or medical-related courses and a dropout rate of 19.4%. A total of 90% of those who complete their training obtain their professional qualifications and licences to practise.
The report also said 700 to 800 nurses are trained per year as well as 200 to 220 doctors, 90 to 110 pharmacists per year and between 27 and 31 laboratory scientists each year.
It said 34% of the registered trained health workers are not active and they have mostly emigrated, retired or changed jobs, University World News reported.
The Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (ZIMCHE) chief director of health and life sciences, Professor Felicity Gumbo, said some of the qualifications obtained outside Zimbabwe do not match local standards, hence students end up stranded or spend up to two years writing local examinations to be able to use their degrees.
The reasons why some foreign qualifications are not recognised in Zimbabwe include that they lack practical training through internships and other work-based learning.
The report also said that there has been a growth in the number of doctors, nurses and midwives.
It was recommended that the private sector should be engaged to optimise expanded contributions to training and employment.
It was also recommended that there should be a collaboration between the ministry of higher and tertiary education to align training plans with the ministry of health in line with the projected needs based on disease burden.
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