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Govt takeover of council clinics draws fire

by Staff reporter
07 Jul 2021 at 11:07hrs | Views
MATEBELELAND civic society organisations have condemned government's decision to take over council-run health facilities, saying it was against the provisions of devolution of power.

This was after Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga last week told Parliament that government was in the process of taking over all health facilities run by councils.

Chiwenga said the move was part of a grand plan to ensure standardised service delivery as envisaged by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Campaigners for Devolution secretary-general Khumbulani Maphosa yesterday told Southern Eye that it was ironic that Chiwenga was pursuing the project at a time when government-run health institutions were struggling to provide quality services due to centralisation of power and inadequate funding.

"We are disturbed by recent reports that the central government intends to take over all council-run clinics in order to standardise health service delivery in Zimbabwe," he said.

"The decision is ultra vires (against) the constitutional provisions on devolution of power as espoused in section 264 and 265 of the Constitution."

Maphosa said centralisation in Zimbabwe had always led to pathetic and shambolic service delivery, adding that examples included the centralisation of bulk water provision by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, which he said had caused acute water shortages in urban centres.

"Another example is the recent centralisation of public transport under Zupco, which is causing serious transport challenges for ordinary citizens. Government must respect constitutionalism."

Maphosa said instead of taking over council-run clinics, government should expedite the issuance of grants to council, and also build more clinics, especially in rural areas where people travel up to 20km to access healthcare services.

He said government should devolve nurse training and the recruitment of healthcare professionals.

Source - newsday

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