In Zambia in 2021 there were 17,000 qualified but unemployed nurses and we found in August 2021 that our students who were graduating as nurses were unable to find work. This jeopardises the belief that education will lead to a better set of life opportunities as many nurses were simply going back to the villages and taking up farming. We decided to try and support change. We helped Zambian friends set up a recruitment agency called Kafwa targeting unemployed nurses and made the UK connections to allow them to start working with the UK NHS to bring nurses to work in the UK. By May 2022 our first three nurses had arrived in Scotland and have already started work with their new employer. This is a dream come true for these three brave nurses and so far they have embraced the changes in their lives and are settling in and making new friends.
By the summer of 2023 Sula (on the left) had sent home enough remittances for his mother to build here first ever house with a tin roof and to buy enough land to be able to feed herself. Sula has sent his older sister to nursing college and his two younger sisters to Boarding School. The poser of remittances is startling and has a ripple effect changing many people's lives.
Here ZMCP have acted as a volunteer Management Consultancy for the project, helping to set up the agency, work through and document the tortuous pathway and working with NHS partners to ensure a robust and scalable pipeline is being created which has the nurses wellbeing at its heart.
The pathway we have built uses the fees from the NHS to strengthen the colleges training the nurses and also feeds into a scholarship program designed to back fill the next generation of nurses.
Despite there being 15,000 qualified but unemployed nurses in Zambia the WHO has effectively banned free movement of this unemployed labour force by placing Zambia on its 'Red List' of vulnerable health systems. We will continue to seek to help nurses find work but it is now almost impossible for them to leave Zambia for the UK.