Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Update

The situation in our hospitals remains critical. What is only remaining are buildings but without the specialized skills. It is now more than four months since doctors downed their remaining tools citing incapacitation. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has done nothing to alleviate the situation. The doctors remuneration remains paltry and the hospitals remain severely incapacitated.

Zimbabweans need not listen to fake news that doctors are back at work and therefore the situation in our hospitals has normalized. What use is a hospital with doctors but with nothing to use? Our central hospitals were previously manned by highly skilled senior specialist doctors who were using high technology equipment. The equipment has since broken down with no replacement in plan.

Specialists and most middle level doctors in Zimbabwe have shown patriotism without appreciation for a long time. The failure by the ministry to address the genuine concerns by doctors has hastened the already ongoing brain drain in our country. As the ZHDA, in as much as we advocate for the welfare of the doctors, we also strongly advocate for our patients and the betterment of the healthcare delivery system. We are duty bound to tell the truth.

The situation in our hospitals is far from normal and as of now, most middle level doctors are leaving the country. The same sadly is now being seen with our Consultants (Senior Doctors) who are the Specialists.

Many registrars who were in training locally have left and gone to complete their training in other countries, leaving our own hospitals understaffed. All this has happened in a space of less than five months and the system continues to contract.

Doctors are in demand worldwide and it is only patriotism and the desire to be in the homeland that was keeping doctors in the county. Our county needs these highly specialized medical personnel and it takes years to train one. Asking them to work without tools is counterproductive and has led to this brain drain.

The current situation has forced the junior doctors who are in their two-year internship period to lose heart and now consider leaving Zimbabwe. Junior doctors have reverted back to being funded by their parents and previous guardians to help them to go to work so that they can complete their internship and be able to leave the country. The question is, should our country celebrate the return of junior doctors to work when their financial incapacitation has not been addressed? This current scenario is far from normal and looking at it with a futuristic eye, one can see that our healthcare system will be more exposed in the near future with no trained or experienced medical personnel.

We acknowledge the effort of HLF in stepping forward to assist in the nationwide health crisis. In the light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis we call upon developmental and private business entities, together with non-governmental organizations to partner and assist in supporting the healthcare delivery system in Zimbabwe. The inaction of the government and the lack of urgency in addressing the very real issues is cause for deep concern.

We now call upon the relevant authorities in Zimbabwe to address this dire situation with the urgency it deserves. We hope they will see the need for a future with doctors in the country and do the needful.

Source: Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA)

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