Foreign medical trips bleeding Zim: ED

FOREIGN trips to seek specialised medical attention by Zimbabweans are bleeding the country of the much-needed foreign currency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.


Writing in his weekly column in the State-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper, Mnangagwa, who along with leading figures in his government, have all sought medical treatment outside the country, said the country needed to develop its capacity going forward.

“Many Zimbabweans are turning to foreign countries for specialised healthcare. This is very expensive for our nation,” Mnangagwa said.

Former President Robert Mugabe endured frequent trips to the Far East that gobbled millions from Treasury, while then as Vice-President, Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa in August last year after a poisoning scare at a rally in Gwanda.

In June this year, Vice-President Kembo Mohadi and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri had to be treated in South Africa for injuries sustained in a grenade explosion in Bulawayo, in what authorities claimed was an assassination attempt on Mnangagwa.

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga was also in South Africa recently for medical treatment along with his wife, Marry, while stricken Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo continues to be monitored by doctors from the neighbouring country.

Zimbabwe’s health sector has all, but collapsed under the weight of an economic ruin, lack of funding and neglect under Mugabe’s rule. Mnangagwa said the country’s healthcare lacked the competitiveness “relative to similar services in other countries, developing or developed. But the story goes further than affordability”.

He added that the country was spending double in other countries what it required to resuscitate the local infrastructure.

“It is also about sparse skills in the country, and about poorly-equipped health facilities. Yet what we end up spending on foreign care more than doubles what we need to build these specialist skills, and to equip and stock our specialised hospitals for more advanced interventions,” the President said.

Mnangagwa said it was a shame that the country was still struggling to deal with Stone Age diseases such as cholera in the 21st Century.

“Never again should we be found wanting in building and maintaining infrastructures necessary for delivering safe services to our communities. They deserve better and should always get the best from us.

“The shame of so literate a society succumbing to such a medieval disease should never be suffered again,” he said in reference to a recent cholera outbreak which claimed over 50 lives countrywide.

Ironically, Mnangagwa claimed a government decision to make access to basic health services universal could be behind the current crippling drug shortages. “Yet this laudable decision to offer free health services has had a telling impact on national drug supplies. There is an upsurge in demand for basic health services, all against our limited resources. Our economy, though on a definite rebound, is not yet out of the woods.

“The pressure on health services grows stronger as one scales up the ladder of healthcare, beyond the primary level,” Mnangagwa said. He added that government was now working on a comprehensive plan to resuscitate comatose drug manufacturing companies and create capacity to supply as well as satisfy local and regional markets.

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  1. chief among medical trips are celebrity jets hired for some of those who are now retired civil servants, but having said that lets equip our hospitals to world status standards

  2. Hanzi, Many Zimbabweans are turning to foreign countries for specialised healthcare. Seriously guy !!?? It’s mostly your ministers that can afford that. How will a pensioner earning $60 Bond go out of the country for treatment ? You cannot fool us anymore !

  3. This has to be one of the most senseless statements coming from him? What cheek, when ‘they’ go to foreign medical facilities because it is paid for, or they can afford it, whilst the majority cannot even get an aspirin at the local clinic.

  4. To be quite frank ED is a dunderhead, after his father Mugabe ED himself is the second greatest beneficiary of foreign medical care & yet he has the nerve to write such an article to the poor nation. It would have been better for him to keep quiet than to say things he can not adhere to himself

  5. Comment…Zvemuno-ooo. Muno munonzi muno. Gegegegege. Ini ziiiiiii zvangu sendisingawone.

  6. The Way Forward Zimbabwe

    I think it is good that the President highlights this Zimbabwean problem of a high propensity for foreign services and goods. Health unfortunately is not the only one, although it should be prioritised in such citings and attempts to proffer a solution. Education is another area where the country is losing big time as Zimbabweans seek to be educated outside. The solution adopted in other progressive countries is stigmatise foreign services, promote locally produced goods and services – buy Zimbabwe, (and even outlaw foreign goods and services). In this regard Government officials must be seen to be consuming locally produced goods and services – otherwise there must be an outcry. However such a strategy will call for increased productivity of locally produced goods and services – and Government must be seen to be active in this productivity

    1. I don’t know how wide your definition of foreign products & services is, because it includes borrowing money from international banks for instance. Many highly qualified people have left for foreign lands because it’s taking forever for this country to shape up. No-one in government seems to know the meaning of corruption, even those working for ZACC, RBZ or the banks. Some folks don’t wanna dream forever….time is too short.

  7. At the rate at which ED is admitting to the ills of his govt/party, he’ll be the last to figure out that the vehicles they bought for the chiefs could have bought 90 ambulances. For such a slow mind to even talk of 2030 is laughable…

    1. The sad reality is that ALL of these ministers can quite easily afford to fly and treat themselves outside of Zimbabwe, but no they still want the taxpayer to pay for it and they don’t use their own illgotten wealth!!! Sickening and very sad. Once again the people suffer.

  8. Who cares?

  9. arturo god of zvimba

    theres no hope for us at all. we have to all leave this country for a better life. dont waste your time here, let them have zimbabwe.

  10. Hypocrisy at its best! Most people cannot even afford to go the local hospital. Only the few elite like ED himself are using the foreign health services

  11. What a load of hypocrites those are at the top One VP and another have sought treatment outside and a plane chartered for the first shopper and then they try to cover it up saying it was a tycoon it is all about themselves just greed at the top

  12. UNlike his predecessor, ED is realistic. He needs to deal with corruption decisively and stop cronyism and we are onto something. As a country we need to now put pressure on Chamisa and ED to set their egos aside and talk.

  13. the ice cream eater went to South Africa himself!

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