Sunday 28 January 2024


THIRTY-THREE trainee primary care nurses at Nkayi District Hospital have been moved to other nursing schools in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces following the temporary closure of the institution, which has disrupted lectures following the arrest of two tutors on corruption charges.

The school of nursing was closed two weeks ago and the affected students have been deployed to Silveria School of Nursing in Masvingo and Mutambara School of Nursing in Manicaland to continue with their studies.

The closure of the school has attracted the ire of locals. The local community said the closure of District Hospital School of Nursing will affect health delivery services as the students played a critical role at the hospital.

According to a letter written by Nkayi district medical officer Doctor Heron Dube, which the Chronicle is in possession of, students were notified of  the closure of the training school.

“Following communication dated 16 January 2024 received from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, student nurse (name withheld) is being released from the Nkayi School of Nursing with effect from 20 January 2024 to continue her Primary Care Nursing training at Mutambara School of Nursing effective 23 January 2024,” read the letter written to one of the affected students.

Dr Dube said the arrest of the two tutors and their subsequent court appearance has left the students stranded with no lessons taking place for days.

“Ideally, the training school must have four tutors to run efficiently, but we had two tutors who have a pending case before the courts and a decision was reached for the students to be deployed elsewhere so that they can finish their courses and go on with their lives,” he said.

“We have a challenge with securing tutors as they are leaving the ministry in numbers and it’s difficult to replace them. This is why the training school has been operating with just two tutors.”

Dr Dube said they hope to recruit another batch of students for the May 2024 intake. “These nurses learn and train for the nation and are deployed to any part of the country when they complete their courses. That is why it’s important that the students continue with their studies elsewhere because they are an integral part of the health care system for the whole country,” he said.

The two tutors, who have been identified as Ms Miriam Rimbi Reza and Mrs Tabeth Ncube, are set to appear before a regional magistrate in Bulawayo. Their case was moved from the Nkayi magistrate’s courts.

In a letter addressed to provincial medical directors of Matabeleland North, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Aspect Maunganidze said the affected students would be deployed to Silveria and Mutambara Schools of Nursing.

“Nkayi District Hospital nurse tutors are undergoing court sessions in Bulawayo following allegations of corruption. This has left 33 students who were left unattended with no lessons since there is no teaching staff at the institution to continue with tutorials,” read the letter.

“The 33 primary care nursing (PCN) students comprise of 23 students who started training on 16 January 2023 and had completed Block 2 training and had sat for their examinations. Their date of completion was 2 February 2025.”

“The PCN students commenced training on 1 May 2023 and their date of completion was supposed to be 27 April 2025. They failed and were back-grouped to the May 2023 group for Block 2. Recruitments were not done in May 2023 and therefore there was no PCN group at the school for them to join.”

Dr Maunganidze recommended that the 23 students be deployed to Silveria School of Nursing and revise for four weeks to enable them to sit for Block 2 examinations while the 10 be deployed at Mutambara School of Nursing to commence Block 2.

“Based on the above background, expedite the transfer processes,” read part of the letter.

The Chronicle news crew spoke to one of the affected students on Tuesday who said they have been inconvenienced by the move.

“We were given just five days to pack our bags and travel to either Masvingo or Manicaland at our own expense, which is not fair because it’s not our fault that the school here was closed. The tutors who are accused of corruption are known for demanding kickbacks from students to be recruited, but the bosses have been turning a blind eye all this time,” said the student.

Mrs Rejoice Mathe from Nkuba Village said: “If so many of them (student nurses) have left for other provinces then we are going to suffer as we will spend several hours in the queues before being attended to. We also want our own children to train here and become nurses but how will this happen when the school has been closed. We urge Government to look into the issue of re-opening the school.” Chronicle


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