Public hearing on Health Services Bill flops

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Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health chairperson Ruth Labode

BY NUNURAI JENA
A PUBLIC hearing on the Health Services Amendment Bill flopped in Chinhoyi after only four residents attended the meeting.

Of the four attendees, only two of them made contributions before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health chaired by Ruth Labode.

Responding to questions from the media on why the meeting flopped, Labode said there was no problem with the venue as it was central.

That was after people suggested that Parliament could have chosen a more central venue.

“Even if we find one person at a venue we will talk to that one person and the person’s views will carry the day,” Labode said.

One of the attendees, Godknows Rupara, said it was unfortunate that MPs were behaving like members of the Executive.

“You can see the big problem that we have in the country; that MPs are now joining members of the Executive in disregarding the views of the people,” Rupapa said.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association Mashonaland West chairperson Kudakwashe Kokanai said his organisation rejected the provisions of the Bill as they sought to curtail health workers’ rights to strike.

“The proposals to arrest and prosecute health workers, who would have gone on strike for more than 72 hours, are madness.  Unfortunately, the Bill has more negatives than positives,” Kokanai said.

He said the Bill was oppressive as it criminalised being an executive member of a trade union.

The Health Services Amendment Bill is viewed as oppressive by health workers as it contains provisions that bar them from engaging in industrial action.

It also has provisions that will slap a three-year jail sentence for health workers in public health institutions for engaging in a strike for more than three consecutive days.

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