Public policy think tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has called on the government to engage the country’s health professionals as a way of addressing the challenges affecting the health sector.
In a Monthly Monitoring Report for October, ZDI called on the Government to ensure accessibility and availability of health services in public hospitals.
“Dialogue with the health industry professionals to find long-lasting solutions to the challenges affecting health sector particularly an issue of remuneration. Ensuring accessibility and availability of health care services for other communicable and non-communicable diseases in the rural areas in the context of Covid-19. Working with local municipalities to ensure adequate staffing of all polyclinics. Ensuring uninterrupted procurement and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines across all vaccination centres,” noted ZDI
The think tank said service delivery was affected by the emigration of trained personnel and failure by the Government to address grievances by health professionals.
“During the period under review, Zimbabwe faced a health sector brain drain that threatens sound service delivery. The problem of brain drain comes against a background of continued failure by the government to address grievances of the health industry personnel.
“The accessibility of health care in rural areas remains a challenge and the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. The polyclinics have also been hit by a critical shortage of nurses as revealed by an investigation conducted by the ZDI around Harare,” said ZDI
The think tank added “The departure of doctors and nurses from public health institutions in Zimbabwe stands in the way of efficient delivery of health care to the public. The brain drain of personnel in the health sector appears to be hitting City Councils’ run polyclinics as these healthcare facilities are critically understaffed.
“The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe in March 2019 has further deteriorated the well-being of doctors and nurses as they became vulnerable to the coronavirus due to poor working conditions characterised by lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs). It is at this juncture that Zimbabwe begins to bear the brunt of the government’s negligence of the health sector as evidenced by the ongoing mass exodus of health workers from the country to other countries in search of greener pastures.”