Zimbabwean nurses settle for ‘lesser’ jobs in the UK

Review & Mail Writer

Setfree Mafukidze, a Zimbabwean nurse working in Britain, knows many trained nurses who are settling for “lesser” jobs in the UK.

Mafukidze, who is quoted in an article by the Guardian about massive brain drain of health personnel from Africa, said Zimbabwean nurses had to forgo their original qualifications to obtain appears to go to the UK.

“Nurses, especially from my own country, Zimbabwe, are coming through the healthcare assistant route,” he says. “They forgo their original qualifications as nurses and are coming into the UK as carers.”

Mafukidze says he relocated to the UK with his family in 2021 because of the intolerable state of Zimbabwe’s health sector – unpaid and under-resourced. “People are really desperate to get out because they feel their prospects are really low in Zimbabwe.

“They are taking other routes because the UK is not only recruiting nurses but also care workers, who don’t need to have any form of registration to work in the UK.”

Mafukidze’s monthly pay in Zimbabwe was the equivalent of £120, insufficient to live on.

“You’ll always end up struggling to make ends meet,” he says.

Mafukidze’s story mirrors that of compatriot, Elizabeth Fadziso landed in London from Harare in April, it was a fresh start for the 30-year-old Zimbabwean nurse. She had hoped to work abroad since starting her nursing degree, prompted by poor welfare conditions for health workers in Zimbabwe and lack of medical equipment.

When she finished her studies in 2020, Fadziso applied for a certificate of good standing from the government, a document required of nurses who want to work abroad, but met a brick wall. The Zimbabwean government had stopped issuing the document, in an effort to prevent nurses leaving.

Fadziso says she was stuck in the process for more than a year before she decided she would forgo her qualification, and took a job as a carer in a nursing home in Liverpool.

“I couldn’t wait any longer,” she says. “I had to take the opportunity. At least it is better than staying back at home.”

Fadziso is determined to repeat her nursing degree in the UK. “It will take time but I don’t mind,” she says.

According to the Guardian, the exodus of healthcare workers from Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe continues despite the WHO red list and a range of laws to keep them at home.

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