LOW-INCOME countries have been inundated with shortages of resources in many aspects of life. The education and health services are usually the most affected with some people failing to access these two economic development enablers.
guest column:Johannes Marisa
So many clinics are poorly-equipped, especially in rural areas.
There are so many vulnerable groups in our country which include the disabled, orphans, the poor and elderly.
Abraham Maslow in 1943 came up with a hierarchy of needs theory which postulates that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualisation. How then can the physiological and the safety needs of the vulnerable be satisfied?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with stakeholders.
There are many types of this concept and these include philanthropy, environmental conservation, diversity and labour practices and volunteerism.
CSR results in sustainable development by delivering economic, social and economic benefits.
Some medical practitioners have been assisting communities in a number of ways which include donations, volunteering, offering free treatment to communities and carrying out health education.
Renowned ophthalmologist, Solomon Guramatunhu is a good example. He has done wonders in Nyazura at St Peter’s Tokoyo School where he sponsored the construction of library.
Many medical practitioners may have done such great work, but may not have gone public about it.
Some of the vulnerable include those children who were dumped onto the streets when they were still young.
For sure, the vulnerable groups cannot access private medical care where one has to pay consultation fees in order to see a doctor.
This leaves them with no option except to rely on public hospitals or clinics, but disaster strikes during times of turmoil in such institutions.
Who attends to these vulnerable groups of people? Who caters for them? Will these groups manage to pay consultation and treatment fees at private medical facilities?
If they are handicapped and wheelchair-bound, how will they raise the required money? All these questions still linger in my brains and it needs a collaborative effort to enable these vulnerable groups to access medical care.
The private medical practitioners of Zimbabwe, under the banner of the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe (MDPPZA), have lately teamed up with some organisations to make medical care accessible, especially to vulnerable groups.
The association is made up of over 500 practitioners who are in private practice.
This a voluntary organisation that incorporates medical and dental practitioners who include doctors, dental therapists, dentists, physiotherapists, radiographers, laboratory scientists who are operating as private practitioners in Zimbabwe.
An old people’s home in Highfield, Bako reDonhodzo, ran out of food and drugs for its inmates in April this year.
Three of the inmates were very sick which attracted the sympathy of the private practitioners who responded to the distress call and offered to treat this vulnerable group for free.
The association has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Muduvuri Rehabilitation and Empowerment Foundation (MREF) which is headed by Kadoma-based businessman, Jimayi Muduvuri.
The man has been at the forefront of advocating for the health of the disabled people in Zimbabwe. His vision, like MDPPZA, is to deliver health to vulnerable groups of society who have remained marginalised for a long time.
Kadoma Old People’s Home sent a distress call to the medical practitioners who will be holding their conference at Kadoma Ranch this week.
The medical practitioners, in partnership with MREF, have agreed to assist the home.
With corporate social responsibility, our country can move from one point to another and development will come with ease.
In view of the above, it is my view that, in medical practice, engaging in corporate social responsibility is prudent. This can come in a number of ways which include the following:
lDonating to the needy
lOffering free consultations and treatment to vulnerable groups such as the disabled, the homeless, the orphans. One-day visits to home area clinic per month can benefit many people.
lProviding free health education.
lDirect contribution to communities through providing inputs needed for community development.