Former Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Henry Madzorera has come to the defence of striking doctors. Madzorera was the Health Minister between 2009 and 2013 during the Government of National Unity.
Junior doctors within the country’s public hospitals embarked on a job action on December 1, 2018. The Labour Court ruled three weeks later that the doctors’ strike was illegal and ordered the doctors to return to work. The doctors rejected the order and were subsequently suspended, with senior doctors threating to go on strike as well and giving the government a 48-hour ultimatum to resolve the issue. This has brought the country’s health delivery system to a standstill.
Speaking from the Midlands city of Kwekwe, Madzorera said
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Doctors and nurses are not welfare workers. They have families to feed. They must lead decent lives.
When the government is saying doctors must prioritise life, it must be cognisant of the fact that doctors must prioritise theirs first before that of their patients. That way they will be able to deliver.
Things have deteriorated a lot. We made a lot of gains since 2009 during the time of the inclusive government. We had a lot of international support.
The Zimbabwean government was committed to financing health care. Our contribution was very small. It was through the goodwill of the international community.
We had lots of funders and programs. We saw health personnel who had left the country coming back. We had decent levels of staffing.
However, things have now gone down without any sign of improvement under the current government.
People are dying and not getting any services whilst we have a government in place…the government has killed our health care service and the onus is upon them to bring back health care delivery back to its feet.