NOTHING exhibits failure by a government more than the neglect of public health institutions and watching helplessly as people succumb to curable diseases.
Even more sickening is that those condemning citizens to die in those death-traps disguised as public health institutions are opting for alternatives by either flying out of the country or building VVIP centres for themselves and their families using taxpayers’ money.
This is an epitome of failure and the rare admission by the Health and Child Care ministry deputy director of non-communicable diseases Justice Mudavanhu paints a picture of a healthcare system in dire need of capital investment.
The startling revelation, especially coming from a senior Health ministry official, should naturally ignite government action but it appears our leaders have their heads buried in sand.
Zimbabwe is going through a slow genocide, where people are dying in numbers from diseases other countries with better medical facilities are managing with ease.
Mudavanhu was blunt in his assertions and made it clear that the cancer mortality incidence (MIR) pegged at 0,8 was indicative of something “very wrong” in the management of the disease.
The management of cancer in Zimbabwe is a microcosm of the decay in the public health sector and no wonder diseases like cholera kill people in high numbers almost every year.
While other countries have managed to contain malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases, Zimbabwe continues to battle them all the time and sadly, lives continue to be lost.
Rightly so, Mudavanhu said there was an urgent need to fix the health delivery system in order to manage curable diseases better. We can only hope his plea does not fall on deaf ears.
What is saddening is we have a leadership that is selfish and instead of providing a proper healthcare system, it prefers to build facilities dedicated to its needs, ignoring the populace.
We have a whole Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health minister flying to China regularly for what should be routine medical check-ups.
Chiwenga was flown to South Africa, India and China last year when his health was failing him and he did that simply because neither Parirenyatwa nor Mpilo hospitals had facilities that could save his life.
He is not alone in a long list of VVIPs who fly out of the country for medical reasons and ironically, that list includes senior government and Zanu PF officials who are responsible for the decay in the health sector.
There is also the issue of massive staff shortages at radiotherapy centres in the country that Mudavanhu referred to as a ticking time bomb.
Zimbabwe only has two public health institutions, Parirenyatwa in Harare and Mpilo in Bulawayo, offering radiotherapy.
What happened to the “health for all” campaign by the Zanu PF government? Should we wait for another campaign period to be immersed in grandiose promises while we continue to lose lives?
This is sad for Zimbabweans and an embarrassment for the government.