The Zimbabwean government says it is engaging the United Nations in an attempt to recover millions of dollars from countries that have recruited the nation’s health workers, including nurses and doctors.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, if this succeeds, Zimbabwe may recoup millions of dollars it used for training health workers who migrated to various countries for greener pastures.
The newspaper quoted Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health, as saying, it costs over US$70,000 annually to train a single doctor.
The Herald reports that Chiwenga told a meeting in Victoria Falls, attended by some health stakeholders, that it costs over US$350,000 to fully train a doctor in Zimbabwe.
Indications are that the government wants to use the money for training nurses, doctors and other health workers.
The United Nations has not yet reacted to this move, expected to stop the brain drain.
Hundreds of health workers trained in Zimbabwe are working in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Botswana and other countries.
A doctor, who requested anonymity and was trained in Zimbabwe and is currently based in the USA, said, “It’s impossible for the government to get a cent from us in terms of pressing our host nations to pay for our training back home. Some of us are now citizens here.”
The doctor said some of them repaid their government loans soon after they completed studies at the University of Zimbabwe, the National University of Science and Technology and others.
There is no specific number of health workers being targeted by the Zimbabwean government.