Health talk: Lack of political will pushing health sector into abyss

Zimbabwe has experienced a mass exodus of health workers

Many sectors of the economy are enduring as both macroeconomic and microeconomic environments become more and more hostile to the populace.

Inflation is ballooning at supersonic speed with salaries being eroded beyond measure.

Critical services are gradually getting diminished with the health sector facing celestial and inordinate challenges arising from mass exodus of workers, poor health infrastructure, obsolete equipment, shortage of drugs, poor health financing, unstable medical aid societies to mention but just a few.

The country had done well when it came to Covid-19 control but the war seems to be getting tougher when it comes to stemming brain drain and resuscitating the ailing health system in general.

Both the public and private health practitioners have wobbled continuously for the past months with loud cries which no one in government has braved to hear.

It was my thought that grievances by the health practitioners would be given an ear and appropriate action be taken by the responsible authorities.

The extent of brain drain will surely leave indelible marks in the health sector much to the detriment of health service delivery.

Why is government not taking remedial action when its workers are in incessant mood of dropping tears? The following are some of the issues which could have been addressed by now if there was good political will:

Public health workers have for long cried about the meagre and uncompetitive salaries they are getting.

Although other civil servants are complaining about the same, some specific attention could have been given to the health sector considering that at least 4500 health workers have left the country in the last 18 months.

This is a record figure since our independence in 1980. Until when are we going to continue losing our experienced workers merely because we cannot address their grievances as a nation? Many healthcare facilities are grossly understaffed, much to the detriment of good health service delivery.

Unfulfilled incentives: Government at one time promised non-monetary incentives to health personnel but very few managed to receive the incentives which were supposed to come as farming land, duty-free vehicles, stands, housing loans, car loans etcetera.

Private practitioners were promised agricultural land in 2021 when they approached the highest office in Zimbabwe.

The president saw it fit to appreciate the medical practitioners who had incontrovertibly worked diligently during the heinous Covid-19 pandemic. Two years down the line, the ministers of state for Provincial affairs are still sitting on the recommendation letters from the President.

The spirit of patriotism will naturally fizzle out when one cannot get even 6 hectares of land in Zimbabwe after having been recommended by the President. Who is sabotaging the president then?

The private medical practitioners have asked for duty-free vehicles (just one in five years) and duty-free hospital equipment but nothing has come out till now.

Why does government not recognise its high-performing citizens so that they are invigorated?

Who in the ministry of Finance is sitting on such requests yet the country continues to lose thousands of workers to greener pastures?

Can we not turn our brown pastures to green ones by incentivising our critical workers with car loans, duty-free facilities, housing loans, good administration, stands, agricultural land and competitive salaries.

The country boasts of close to 60 minerals which have capacity to generate millions of dollars every year.

We have vast tracts of land that is very productive and poverty should just be a dream in our country.

Private health practitioners complained to the ministry of Health and Child Care about the ill-treatment in the hands of the regulatory bodies and councils in terms of exorbitant fees they are charged.

Harare City Council charges about US700 for surgery licence, Ruwa demands almost the same, Norton is not different.

What is surprising is that the regulator, the ministry of Health has done nothing to try to reduce the charges. The ministry of Health demands US$15000 for one to register a new medical aid society, a figure which is way too high for many local citizens.

The Health Professions Authority (HPA) remains the only body that lowered licence fees since the outcry by medical practitioners. Hats off to HPA for listening to practitioners.

There are so many grievances that our government can urgently consider for the betterment of good health service delivery. It is my prayer that urgent action be taken to address the highlighted issues. minister of Transport, Mr Mhona, should know that motorists travelling along Amalinda Road are not happy with the state of the road.

It is an embarrassment to have an unpassable road in the midst of the suburbs yet a mere grader should be dispatched to do regular maintenance.

Whoever works in the ministry of Transport should act to sort the Amalinda road and its respective branches. Who is responsible for Kirkman road in Mt Hampden? The road has not been completed two years after it was started?

The ministry of Transport is letting everyone down!

Grievances are brought forward for actioning!

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