GOVERNMENT should take blame for the collapse of the health sector and stop blaming the opposition for inciting doctors and other civil servants to go on strike, the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has said.
Addressing journalists at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday, MDC shadow health minister Henry Madzorera said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was paying lip service to the health sector by prioritising security ministries in its budget allocations.
“The government cannot and should not hide behind a finger and blame doctors for this complete collapse of health services,” he said.
“Government collects taxes from people, and government has a responsibility to distribute our tax revenue in a manner that allows every Zimbabwean to enjoy the highest level of health and well-being possible.”
Madzorera added: “It is government’s responsibility to allocate 15% of total government expenditure to health, to manage additional ear marked taxes like the health levy, the Aids levy, in a transparent and accountable manner that benefits all Zimbabweans, to deal with the corruption that is haemorrhaging not only the health sector, but the entire economy and to start to improve the conditions in which our people are born, live, work and age in order to create a healthier population.”
Junior doctors have been on strike for over a month now, demanding regular supplies of drugs and equipment to public hospitals and to be paid in United States dollars, among other grievances.
The strike enters its 36th day tomorrow and several meetings between government and the striking doctors, including one with First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa held yesterday, have failed to break the deadlock.
Madzorera warned that government’s failure to handle the strike action would have devastating consequences on the country, as most of the doctors would leave for greener pastures
He said government did not need doctors to strike to realise that it has an obligation to buy drugs and other consumables required in hospitals.
MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Zimbabwe was back to “square zero”.
“The wheels have come off completely just five months after the sham election of July 30, 2018 and over a year since the departure of President Robert Mugabe,” he said.
Teachers and members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have threatened to down tools next week. The labour unrest coincides with the schools’ opening on Tuesday.