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Zimbabwe health minister bemoans skills flight

by Staff reporter
07 Apr 2024 at 10:09hrs | Views
HEALTH and Child Care minister, Douglas Mombeshora, has admitted that the brain drain has left the health sector on its knees, denying patients access to primary medical attention.

Mombeshora revealed this in Parliament this week, while responding to written submissions made by legislators on the state of the health sector in the country.

He said the ministry is struggling to fill vacant posts.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Care is currently facing challenges with inadequate numbers of staff," he said.

"This has been exacerbated by the cholera outbreak and building of new facilities which have increased the burden on the staffing levels at institutions across the country."

"The Health Service Commission continues to engage with the Treasury, seeking creation of new posts to enable the ministry to adequately staff both the existing and new
health institutions."

The health sector has been hard-hit by a mass exodus of doctors, nurses and other experienced personnel protesting poor salaries and working conditions.

Most of the health professionals have left for the United Kingdom in recent years, with estimates putting the figure at over 3 000 since 2022.

In 2018, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga grabbed international headlines after firing over 15 000 striking nurses.

He was forced to reverse the decision a few days later.

Chiwenga was accused of using "military-style tactics" to intimidate health workers from downing tools.

During his time, the ministry announced plans to ban doctors and nurses from striking for more than three days under proposed amendments to the Health Services Act.

Under the changes, worker representatives charged for inciting nurses and doctors to embark on strike action deemed illegal faced jail terms.

Source - newsday
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