Germany is seeking to recruit 500,000 nurses from Africa in an apparent move to tackle shortages in its health system.
The European country, struggling with a severe labour shortage, was already in discussions with South Africa-trained nurses to fill its vacancies.
Khaya Sodidi, the deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), who disclosed this, said Germany wants the African country to train nurses for them, especially the unemployed youth.
Mr Sodidi stressed that the European country has a shortage of about 500,000 nurses, while South Africa has about 20,000 unemployed nurses.
“We can confirm there are continuous engagements about nurses between Germany and SA, but nothing has been finalised just yet,” he said in a report published by Africa’s BusinessDay Newspaper.
The global health system is facing a crisis of workforce shortage, and an increasing nurse shortage has called for the need to find more effective ways to recruit and retain them.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) have revealed a global nursing shortage of 5.6 million nurses, with the greatest need for qualified nurses in South East Asia and Africa.
At least 7.3 million nurses and midwives are currently employed in the European Region, but the figure is believed inadequate to meet current and future needs.
A 2022 report published by the National Institute for Health said Germany has been unable to fill up to 520,000 full-time nursing positions.
Although Germany has the highest number (13.9 nurses) per 1000 inhabitants in the European Union, the country has also struggled to address the increasing need for those qualified.
According to a study by the Prognos, the factors linked to increased demand for nurses include an ageing population, globalisation and a growing private sector, a rise in social mobility and unsatisfactory working conditions.
Last month, a report by DW TV said Germany is going through staffing inadequacy for nursing positions for its ageing population despite having one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
The report said that by 2030, the country will need over 300,000 nurses because it has a severe deficit of care workers.
Several strategies to address the nursing workforce shortage have been undertaken worldwide. These include improving working conditions, expanding recruitment, targeting qualified nurses who have left the nursing profession to return, recruiting internationally trained nurses, and improving remuneration.