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Rights Commission chides ruling elite for using foreign hospitals

By Nkosana Dlamini

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (Zhrc) has rebuked the country’s ruling elite for routinely seeking treatment abroad to evade the country’s run down health system they have created over the years.

The commission said this following a crippling strike by junior doctors which is now nearing a full month.

The doctors are pressing for a review of their allowances, coupled with adequate material to use when performing their duties in public hospitals.

Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa (pictured) has admitted the problem was now beyond his capabilities to resolve, adding that he has escalated it to “higher office” (President Emmerson Mnangagwa).

In a statement, the country’s rights authority urged a speedy resolution to the crisis that has seen public hospitals turn away patients as the critical health staff persists with the job action.

“The Commission notes with concern that due to the inadequate and poor facilities in most public health institutions, the leaders within the Government of Zimbabwe generally shun the services that are a product of their policies and decisions,” said the Zhrc.

“Instead they seek treatment in private health facilities and even travel beyond Zimbabwean borders for health services.”

The country’s ruling elite is privileged with public resources to fly out to better hospitals abroad.

Former President Robert Mugabe sought treatment in Singapore while the now President Emmerson Mnangagwa (then Vice President) was last year also flown to South Africa to receive treatment after he fell sick on suspected food poisoning.

The case is the same with almost the entire government which often sees ministers receive treatment in private hospitals locally and abroad.

The Zhrc says this practice displayed a “clear lack of confidence in the public health delivery system by our leaders and compromises commitment and resoluteness in ensuring the recovery of the system”.

“Further, it relegates such services to the poor who have to contend with the deteriorating health standards, which fly in the face of the rights based approach to development,” said the rights commission.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa