Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR) has released the following statement urging the government to not harass doctors. This was after the Information Ministry Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana claimed that some doctors are now weaponizing COVID-19, taking the chance to “kill” certain political players who will be hospitalized due to the Wuhan Virus.
In the statement, ZADHR said such persecution could destabilize the health sector during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic :
Press Statement SELF REGULATION AND THE COVID-19 CRISIS 24 January 2020
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has noted with concern the escalating tensions in the health sector. Of key concern are the following recent issues
- The branding of certain medical professionals as “medical assassins” by a senior government official.
- The threats of arrests, and deregistration of medical practitioners who are alleged to have communicated unethical statements on social media.
ZADHR strongly advises against continuous persecution of health care professionals. Cases of alleged medical misconduct, if any, must always be handled by the appropriate medical regulatory bodies. Across the globe, self-regulation of medical practitioners has been adopted as the standard approach for ensuring adherence to the highest standards of ethical practice in the medical sector.
Furthermore, we advise that the continuous persecution of medical practitioners is likely to destabilise the health sector during this time when the nation is supposed to be focusing on resolving the COVID-19 crisis.
Government must be seen to be applauding the positive role being played by frontline health workers who are working tirelessly to provide essential services during this pandemic, risking their lives to save Zimbabweans in the process. The COVID-19 crisis requires close collaboration between government, health workers and all citizens.