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Health ministry is hiding behind fingers


I am not one to literally tell my age in public. But in this instance I must be honest. I am 33 years old.

I have fallen ill numerous times as I have grown up. But necessity, which assumedly hath no law, brings me to this premature and scary understanding of the reality of my life.

I am mortal. And for all the issues he must address, the Health minister, Honourable MP Henry Madzorera has to find a manner of responding to this article.

In the passage of time, all of us, including the minister responsible for our national health, shall pass on. In saying this, I am completely aware that I am of Catholic upbringing.

I know that whatever little intellect I have I owe to the same church but like others of various religious affiliations, I am conscious of the vicissitudes of fate.

We will all pass on. No matter our station in life.

Because I am Catholic, and have undergone most of the fundamental rituals of Catholicism, I am sure I will be adjudged by a man of the cloth to have strived to the best of my ability to understand the necessity of living righteously on earth in order to attain recognition in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In any event, I might possibly pass on due to the damage done to my physical being by virtue of cholera or some such other treatable disease.

This will be because I will be unable to either afford a doctor to diagnose my illness or alternatively, the intravenous drip will be beyond my purse’s reach.

God forbid that I should ever have cancer. If that be the case, I may never be diagnosed at all.

This is because, coming as I possibly shall from the rural hinterland of the Save River in Chiredzi, there will be no cancer specialist at my disposal.

I will certainly die, but not for lack of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

There are a number of NGOs that will provide those anyway. I will die because of our health system that is currently presided over by the labour union-backed inclusive government and our Health minister, Madzorera.

The truth of the matter is, Zimbabweans are dying.

And we are dying with a frequency that is alarming.

In considering this — never mind whether the Health minister is a trained doctor of medicine or not — we are perishing for lack of money or for lack of having a relative who is in the employ of the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

Disregard the fact that we are living in a country that claims we are all equal in its Constitution.

Those that lead us have had the continual privilege of being treated in South African hospitals or elsewhere while we are left, for lack of money, to die at Harare Central Hospital.

The comrades in the inclusive government are no longer being truthful to us, as citizens.

They regularly claim that there is no money for us to live healthily, a claim that is made as though we are in a country that is the equivalent of a zoo or dog pound.

And the assumption of our inclusive government is that the World Health Organisation or the United Nations Children’s Fund will ensure that the country’s next generation will live healthily.

Or that those who have matured and contributed to the best of their ability, never mind their politics, to our country’s existence, can continuously diagnose and treat themselves for diseases that their non-existent pensions will afford without state assistance is beyond belief.

And this is despite HelpAge’s clamour that enough is not being done by the state for our senior citizens.

The honest truth is that our health system has been falling apart for some time now. And it seems that the Minister of Health, Madzorera, cannot understand this particular point. He, for lack of a better phrase, continues to preside over a health system that devalues the necessity and right to life.

For over a year now we have had media arguments about the maternal and infant mortality rates in Zimbabwe. We also had media debate over the issue of the distribution of ARVs (corrupt or otherwise) nationally.

These debates have also included the matter of accessible treatment for the majority of the population and we still do not have a comprehensive national plan for the country’s health.

Instead, there is regular firefighting over maintaining what the government calls sustainable salaries in the health sector — as though the country were a non-governmental project waiting approval at the UN headquarters in New York.

And all ordinary Zimbabweans are now really afraid to fall ill, let alone to reproduce. You might not be able to stay alive if you do either.

In the meantime I guess I, like many of my friends, will go and bury another relative who died of a treatable disease or died before their medically determinable time was up.

All because our Ministry of Health does not begin to understand that we must live in good health or at least be treated fairly and affordably when we get afflicted with ailments.

That is if, in any event, we should be better off after the formation of an inclusive government.

Takura Zhangazha is a media consultant Feedback: kuurayiwa@gmail.com

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