The Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) has urged telecoms billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa, through his Higher Life Foundation (HLF), to engage them so that they can tell him what is really needed at public hospitals rather than for him simply throwing money at the situation. Below is the full text of the statement:
STATEMENT 6 DECEMBER 2019
The SHDA takes note of a statement released by Higher Life Foundation (HLF) whereby they are offering junior doctors a once-off allowance if they report for duty from Monday 9 December.
The stated aim is to provide service at hospitals over the festive period. This is, once again a noble idea.
However, it is not informed by a clear understanding of the situation on the ground.
Firstly, the hospitals currently remain ill-equipped to deal with victims of trauma.
At most centres patients are being requested to bring their own plasters, which is used for uncomplicated fractures.
We have clearly stated time and time again the unavailability of other necessary, basic requirements like intravenous antibiotics.
We shall not even talk about those patients who would require more complex investigations or surgery.
Secondly, medical units are run by teams of health personnel. Junior doctors cannot handle the volume and complexity of multiple trauma patients alone.
This proposal would only take us back to a situation where the hospital doors are thrown open, doctors are physically present in the buildings, but patients continue to die.
The SHDA would like to reiterate that a holistic approach in pursuit of a long-term solution is urgently needed.
The piecemeal approach to the problems in the health sector is one of the reasons we are in this quagmire.
If HLF really wishes to make an impact in the lives of the citizens, we call on them to engage with those on the ground who know what is needed, so as to make the best use of resources.
We want to see a speedy resolution to this impasse but it is not as simple as throwing money at the situation.
We have no desire to be back here again a few months from now. We call on all like-minded persons and organizations to come together so we can restore our hospitals to be beacons of life and hope once again.