Zimbabwe’s former military men who are now in charge of the Health Ministry have introduced new measures to prevent a mass exodus of doctors when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The new Health Minister, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, his deputy John Mangwiro and the permanent secretary, Jasper Chimedza all former military men and have been accused of using their military tactics to run the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week boasted that he appointed Chiwenga as Health minister to instil discipline in the ministry.
The recent banning of specialist training has been described as a command and militaristic approach to matters of public health and is meant to punish doctors for making demands on their safety and that of patients.
A letter released by Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) secretary Norman Matara, addressed to the ministry by the registrars, read in part:
A number of registrars stationed at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals have indicated their willingness to resume clinical services, but are hoping that minimum requirements for healthcare workers and patient safety are met as we continue in the pandemic.
These include the provision of Doppler’s, CTGs [cardiotocography, a technical means of recording the foetal heartbeat and the uterine contractions during pregnancy], adequate personal protective equipment as appropriate for tasks, adequate nursing staff levels for theatres and the wards, two functional theatres at MMH at any given day and time including weekends, the ready availability of consultants to teach and assist, a commitment to the resumption of elective surgeries and outpatient clinics and adequate junior levels…