Members of the public have been warned about individuals masquerading as nurse aide trainers who are fleecing desperate Zimbabweans in need of first aid certificates for use as a gateway to overseas markets.
Why Nurse Aide Certificates:
The United Kingdom (UK) announced that its health system needs to fill about 110 192 vacant posts following the death of many frontline health workers who succumbed to COVID-19 related complications.
The shortages include 39 652 nurses and 8 158 medical doctors, according to the latest quarterly data for health service vacancies published by the National Health Service (NHS).
Nursing assistants in the UK earn an average of £20 000 per annum (US$26 000) which translates to about US$2 100 per month.
Some scammers are taking advantage of the rising demand for nursing aides to set up nurse aide training institutions to milk desperate individuals of their hard-earned cash. An official source from the Ministry of Health and Child Care said:
We have information that these individuals misrepresent to unsuspecting people that their operations are internationally recognised and they have connections with nurse aide recruiting agencies in the United Kingdom and Australia while in fact, they are bogus individuals.
It has been established that people falling prey to the conmen rarely carry out background checks to establish the authenticity of these institutions and this has worked against them.
Research has shown that recognised institutions include Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance Association, Angel Care Home Health, Ocean Bird Nurse Aide Training Centre, and One Africa Trust, among others.
These are oversubscribed and those desperate for the qualification end up falling prey to fraudsters who are charged between US$100-US$200 for training which lasts between three and four weeks after which they get certificates.
One victim, Thandekile Mpofu, who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent, said:
I only discovered that I was duped when I was going through the application process.
I noticed that the institution was not among the list of recognised training bodies as I was made to believe. I then phoned the responsible people, but they were evasive.
I cannot locate them anymore. Their mobile numbers are no longer in use. There were about 10 people in my class.
In January, a Red Cross employee Debra Tembedza was arraigned before a Harare magistrate for allegedly issuing nurse aide certificates to untrained individuals for a US$50 fee per person.
More: The Independent