The Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) has called for the restoration of the rule of law in the health sector after the government abruptly introduced new rules which now make it difficult for doctors to leave the country.
In the Twitter thread below, the SHDA clarifies issues around Certificates of Good Standing (CGS) which have traditionally been granted to doctors when they leave for greener pastures:
A Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) is a document issued by a professional body to a sister professional body as clearance for a colleague with no hanging disciplinary issues regarding patient care and relations with colleagues. MDPCZ [Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe] plays the role in Zimbabwe.
The term of the MDPCZ council expired on 31st July this year. The councillors are responsible for setting up rules of the council and to oversee its operations including the issuing of Certificates of Good Standing. They never amended the rules.
The new council members are waiting to be inaugurated by the minister of MOHCC who is said to be too busy with other matters for now and therefore they have not yet even convened a meeting. They, therefore, have not officially made any amendments to any rules.
The changes that are purportedly being done at the MDPCZ are actually not being done by the council. It is all coming from an office at the Min of Health whose certainty is undisputed. These changes are null and void as only superficial scrutiny of the law has been done on it.
The CGS is never issued by a government anywhere in the world. The minister only administers the act that governs the operations of the professional body. Professional bodies are therefore independent bodies that practice in autonomy. CGS is never denied over labour issues.
The MDPCZ determines which doctor gets a Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) and any unilateral changes to it are a blatant disregard to the rule of law. The MOHCC has trampled on the Health Professions Act while attempting to solve a labour dispute with doctors.
Doctors are asking for PPE, medicines and sundries, and a review of their wages which are now so low that many cannot afford to come to work. Instead of providing solutions, the Govt has decided to throw away the books of the laws of the land.
Sister medical organizations intending to accept visiting or relocating doctors from Zimbabwe have been depending on the CGS. The registering authority has been invaded and until this issue is resolved the system has been poisoned to block migration.
The safe way to get a CGS devoid of political influence is to get two senior doctors signatures as has always been in Zimbabwe. Outside of that, reference letters from senior doctors of repute should be enough. The rule of law must be restored.