The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Health Ministry Tackles Staffing Problems

EFFORTS are underway to address challenges facing health practitioners, especially over the freezing of recruitment. This was said by Child and Child Welfare Minister Dr Henry Madzorera. In a speech read on his behalf during the Fifth Annual Congress of the Health Profession Authority by principal director in the Ministry Dr Christopher Tapfumaneyi, Dr Madzorera said Government was aware of the challenges affecting the health sector.

"We have challenges being faced as a result of the blanket freeze on recruitment of civil servants where the patient to staffing ratios in public hospitals are no longer being met and this is affecting the health service delivery system," he said.

"Negotiations are underway to find creative ways to deal with these challenges."

Dr Madzorera said Government was exploring ways of addressing duty on medical equipment with a view to ensure that healthcare system delivery catches up with the latest technological developments.

He said health professionals should strive to ensure that healthcare is accessible.

"I would like to encourage health professionals to ensure health services and medicines become accessible to the people through fair and reasonable charges," said Dr Madzorera.

"We would like to challenge them to be innovative in their practices and put a face to the healthcare of the poor.

"We have seen some medical practitioners having outreach programmes to help the vulnerable access medical services and I wish we could all emulate and replicate these admirable best social responsibility practices."

HPA is a regulatory authority that upholds and promotes high standards of healthcare delivery in Zimbabwe through monitoring and co-ordinating activities of health professionals.

Dr Madzorera said HPA should put in place regulations that protect patients' right to access healthcare and not allow market forces to solely dictate tariffs.

"I am concerned by reports that patients are now opting to fly to Malawi and India to access more affordable healthcare services," Minister Madzorera said.

Government, he said, would not circumcise 100 000 men this year as planned due lack of adequate resources.

"Another fact is the programme was confined to urban areas," he said.

"We have now come up with initiatives which will see the programme being rolled out to rural and all remote areas.

"This new initiative will involve more resources and I am sure, as health professionals, it will give us an upper hand in this new thrust to upscale the male circumcision drive."

HPA president Professor Innocent Gwatidzo described the congress as a success.

"We want more people to come and learn about some of the challenges in the medical field," he said.

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