The Zimbabwe government has decided to spend US$2 million to curb a massive exodus of skilled workers like doctors, lawyers and nurses from the country.
This amount was allocated by the government as a part if a skills retention package. The state-controlled Herald was told by Washington Mbizvo, chairperson of a special government taskforce on skills retention, that improvement of conditions of service for recently trained doctors serving in remote rural districts would get Zim$121m (US$484000).
To protest their deployment to the countryside, junior doctors at the main hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo went on strike last month. According to them no drugs, equipment, decent accommodation or amenities at district hospitals were available.
Key staff members would be identified by all government ministries and they would benefit from the financial package, according to Mbizvo.
The economic crisis of Zimbabwe forced millions of Zimbabweans to go to neighbouring countries in search of better work prospects. According to an official report, South Africa, Britain and other countries have nearly 4 million skilled Zimbabweans living and working there. This exodus has had a major impact on the public service of Zimbabwe.
In the southern Masvingo province, 4 district hospitals serving more than 6,00,000 people 2 months ago, is now operating without any doctors. Vacancies in several rural hospitals have been filled by recruiting expatriate doctors from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cuba.
Zimbabweans would be eligible to stay in New Zealand in spite of being HIV-positive, if they met other immigration criteria.
According to the Health Minister, Pete Hodgson, humanitarian crisis has made around 1,300 Zimbabweans to come to New Zealand of which, 800 have not applied for permanent residency due to the compulsory HIV test. Their arrival was a part of the New Zealand government's Special Zimbabwe Residence Policy.
Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said, "It would be inappropriate to repatriate Zimbabweans who were HIV-positive because of the 'awful and oppressive' nature of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's regime".