Zimbabwe: Zim On Verge of a High Brain Drain in Health Sector

Striking Zimbabwean doctors (file photo).

ZIMBABWE is on the verge of a massive brain drain in the health sector once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, a public health specialist has warned.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) secretary-general, Norman Matara was speaking at a Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) workshop conducted in Harare, Tuesday.

Zimbabwe's health delivery system has severely deteriorated characterised by a lack of medical equipment and drugs.

Public health care professionals have constantly been up in arms with the government as they demand an urgent address of their concerns; improved, safe working conditions, and better remuneration.

A high number of nurses and doctors in the public health care sector have made an exodus to different countries in search for greener pastures.

However, those remaining are waiting for the relaxation of travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 before they also leave.

"There is an issue of health workers' migration that is happening at the moment in the country," Matara said.

"A lot of people are leaving the country especially nurses, doctors as well are trying to leave but are having a blockage in terms of one of the exams that they need to write. To go to the UK, you have to write the second exam in the UK so most people wrote the first exam but cannot write because of the travel restrictions but once these are lifted there is going to be a very big exodus of health care practitioners."

However, he added the government had made it difficult for doctors to seek employment overseas by imposing stringent conditions for one to attain a 'Certificate of Good Standing'.

"When you want to go work outside at the moment you need a letter of good standing that confirms that you are a doctor who was abiding by the medical ethics.

"Previously that letter was being given by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council which regulates how we operate and that's the correct body to offer that because they are the ones that know how we have been working.

"Now we have to go through the Ministry (of Health) and the ministry does not regulate. If I am a practitioner practicing privately they don't know how I am operating. It's only my council that knows so we do not know how they are going to assess and say I am good, so most people think that it now boils down to politics," he told the media.

Matara added; "People are struggling now to get that letter of good standing, they don't want people to leave. Half of the people are being denied that letter with no clear reasons."

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