The Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Care has slammed the government for crippling the already deteriorating health delivery system by dismissing doctors without a continuity plan.
Addressing the permanent secretary in the ministry of health and child care Dr Agnes Mahomva who appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Care, Chairperson Dr Ruth Labode said government’s heavy handedness on the striking doctors was shameful.
“How do you even plan to replace those 415 doctors? Are you getting doctors from Cuba? Why did government take a decision to ignore the doctors’ grievances? For me, it is like ignoring and then suing your child. A neighbour then negotiates with your child and takes them. This situation will bring shame on you,” she said.
Mahomva said Health Services Board under the guidance of the Attorney-General’s Office had instituted disciplinary action on the 415 striking doctors.
“A total of 578 doctors are to be charged, with 520 charge letters served. Of these, 459 disciplinary cases have so far been heard, of which 415 were given discharge penalties with 212 discharge letters served,” she said.
“Most external funding is allocated towards drugs and medical supplies, leaving the country’s health service delivery vulnerable to donor re-prioritization. For example, the Global Fund allocation to drugs and medical supplies decreased by $30 million in 2019 and 2020.”
However it was also revealed that Zimbabweans have been surviving on health allocation of US$4,80 per capita (per person per year) against the US$36 stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“In 2019, the per capita budget allocation for health has been US$4,80 per person and even the best scrapping by the WHO is at US$36 per capita and we are nowhere near that,” Mahomva told the committee.
“In 2020, we are moving out of austerity, but it simply means that we are also not making any significant progress. We are moving in a straight line and the per capita allocation is now US$27,29,” she added.
The Health ministry was allocated ZWL$6,4 billion in the 2020 national budget with ZWL$4,5 billion expected to come from development partners.
“About 80 percent of current health funding is from two sources; the Global Fund, providing 43 percent and PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief) 37 percent, making it more necessary for the government to find more innovative financing methods for health to decrease donor dependency,” Mahomva said.