PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has admitted that the country’s health sector is in trouble as it continues to be hit by the mass exodus of health professionals.
Zimbabwe in the past years has seen doctors as well as nursing seeking greener pastures in foreign lands. While the exact number of health professionals that have left the country in the past two years, estimates by unions put the figure at just over 3 000.
Mnangagwa’s remarks also came after legislators recently took Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health minister, to task in October over the sad state of affairs in the public health sector.
In his column in a weekly State-controlled paper, Mnangagwa said the number of medical practitioners in the country remains unsatisfactorily low.
“I am told we have 3 777 registered medical practitioners in the country. Of this number, 1 982 are General Medical Officers; 713 are specialists; 250 are dentists, and 627 are interns. We have to boost our medical corps.
“We have to competitively reward our doctors to guarantee greater staff retention in our hospitals and the country. Many of our doctors continue to leave the country for greener pastures; they are hotly sought after, particularly in the rich West, because of our superior training facilities,” Mnangagwa said.
“The second republic has to treat in-country medical staff retention as a foremost national goal. More visible and substantive steps will be taken shortly to improve the working conditions for our medical staff.”
Mnangagwa also acknowledged the country’s hospitals needed modernisation and equipment.
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“. . . a doctor is as good as the equipment and machinery available to them, in the discharge of their work, which invariably is delicate and life-saving. The second republic is aware of this area of great concern and need, and will be making substantial provisions towards meeting this pressing need, starting with this coming budget,” Mnangagwa said.