The Sunday Mail
Shamiso Yikoniko and Forward Nyanyiwa
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission officials were heavily involved in the recruitment of student nurses for this year’s intake at Chitungwiza Central, Mpilo, Parirenyatwa and Harare Central hospitals, The Sunday Mail Society can exclusively reveal.
This was meant to stop reported corruption in recruitment of students.
According to information gathered from a human resources official at Chitungwiza Hospital, staff from the anti-graft body oversaw the whole process from opening of application letters to shortlisting of prospective students.
“This year’s student nurse intake was a bit different from what we have been doing all along in that there was a heavy presence of members of Zacc,” said the source.
“They were there from the first day we started opening the letters up to the final shortlisting of the successful students. Together with members of the hospital’s recruiting team, the officials from Zacc made sure that deserving candidates got the places.”
Like most nursing schools dotted around the country, CCH has been fingered as one of the most corrupt hospitals when it comes to student nurse recruitment. It is alleged that top nurses (names supplied) working in cahoots with a well-knit web of agents would collect as much as US$1 500 for one to attend interviews and US$2 000 for securing a place.
Zacc deputy chair Commissioner Ms Naneti Silukhuni said, “We found out that there a lot of irregularities in terms of recruitment policies in hospitals. There’s no proper procedure that hospitals follow when recruiting nurses.
“In some cases hospital staff bring their own relatives to study for nursing even if they have lower qualifications than expected at the expense of those who really deserve such opportunities.
“Zacc carries the mandate to lead the fight against corruption in Zimbabwe and in so doing it equally carries the mandate to prevent corruption from occurring.”
Chitungwiza Central Hospital CEO Dr Obadiah Moyo confirmed the presence of the anti-graft officials last year.
“It’s true we had officials from Zacc to help supervise our nurse recruitment last year,” he said. “We were all but trying to have accountability and openness for the whole exercise.”
It is understood that Zacc officials were also involved in the setting of interview questions, which was done a few minutes before the interview and they had also planted other officials among the prospective students in a bid to root out suspected malpractices at the hospital.
“They also helped in the setting of the interview questions which was done the very morning students were waiting to have their interviews. There was no room for relaying information to the interviewees and they even had some of their colleagues posing as aspiring student nurses,” added the source.
However, a nursing tutor at the hospital said while it was commendable for officials from Zacc to supervise the recruitment process, it was a mockery to the nursing fraternity to have them setting interview questions.
“It is within their constitutional mandate to help fight corruption but it becomes a problem when they are incorporated in setting of the interview questions. It’s a mockery to the nursing profession,” quipped the tutor who preferred anonymity.
To which Ms Silukhuni responded: “It’s imperative that whatever findings we came across and whichever corrective action needs to be taken, these have to be brought to the attention of the client for consideration.”
“We would like to encourage all health institutions to follow our recommendations during their processes of recruiting student nurses to enhance their integrity and transparency will be enhanced resulting in the elimination of corruption and an improved service delivery.