Zim, In­dia seal $25m drugs deal

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Free­man Razemba and Sibongile Maruta

GOV­ERN­MENT has con­cluded a $25 mil­lion deal for med­i­cal equip­ment, medicines and sur­gi­cal sun­dries with In­dia to ease drug short­ages and deal with price dis­tor­tions.

This comes as ju­nior doc­tors at pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties went on strike on Satur­day, cit­ing un­sat­is­fac­tory work­ing con­di­tions, low salaries and lack of ba­sic medicines and equip­ment.

In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day after meet­ing Zim­babwe Hospi­tal Doc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion (ZHDA) Pres­i­dent Dr Elias Mu­zoremba, sec­re­tary-gen­eral Dr Anele Mthabisi Bhebhe and other mem­bers at Parireny­atwa Group of Hospi­tals, Health and Child Care Min­is­ter Dr Oba­diah Moyo said the health sec­tor should start get­ting medicines and med­i­cal sup­plies soon.

He said he was work­ing to im­prove the wel­fare of doc­tors.

“The Pres­i­dent has equally made a huge con­tri­bu­tion in as far as mak­ing sure that prod­ucts are avail­able to the Min­istry of Health. I am happy to note that an ar­range­ment for $25 mil­lion worth of med­i­cal goods, medicines and sur­gi­cal sun­dries has been con­cluded through the ef­forts of His Ex­cel­lency.

“We are very grate­ful for the ef­fort made by His Ex­cel­lency’s of­fice. As soon as the prod­ucts start com­ing in, they should be dis­trib­uted to var­i­ous health­care cen­tres start­ing with Gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and this is all com­ing through Nat­pharm,” he said.

“I am happy to note that His Ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa has been con­sid­er­ate and he has been work­ing with us, en­sur­ing that we make all the ar­range­ments nec­es­sary to be able to ac­quire var­i­ous com­modi­ties re­quired to en­sure that we run an ef­fi­cient health care ser­vice. At the same time credit fa­cil­i­ties have been cre­ated by the Min­istry of Fi­nance for the ben­e­fit of the health sys­tem.”

Dr Moyo said dis­cus­sions were still on­go­ing be­tween Zim­babwe and In­dia for an­other con­sign­ment of 100 tonnes of medicines, which will put the coun­try in a much bet­ter po­si­tion.

He urged ju­nior doc­tors who are on strike to go back to work and look after pa­tients.

“We have re­alised that the ju­nior doc­tors have been hav­ing prob­lems with fuel. It is very painful to see young doc­tors rid­ing into the kom­bis to­gether with their pa­tients.

“We want a sit­u­a­tion where our doc­tors and all our health­care work­ers are well looked after. In fact, my num­ber one pri­or­ity has al­ways been to en­sure that all health work­ers are well looked after,” said Dr Moyo.

“We want every­one to go back to work and look after pa­tients. It is my strong belief that there has to be an en­gage­ment and di­a­logue on a con­tin­u­ous ba­sis. I have no prob­lem meet­ing with the ju­nior doc­tors. I met an­other group

and I would like to meet every­one,” he said.

He as­sured Zim­bab­weans that Gov­ern­ment was work­ing on en­sur­ing that health care ser­vice gets back to nor­mal in the short­est pos­si­ble time.

Dr Moyo said Gov­ern­ment wanted to work well with the doc­tors and also at­tend to their griev­ances.

“I am com­ing in as a new min­is­ter with a dif­fer­ent ap­proach and I know what has been hap­pen­ing. Feel free, don’t be scared, don’t be shy, speak your minds. The more you say, the more we will be able to make the min­istry func­tion,” he said.

He said what­ever griev­ances the as­so­ci­a­tion would bring to his of­fice, would be passed on to the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties.

Dr Mu­zoremba said the min­is­ter had paved way for the start of for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion as soon as pos­si­ble.

Dr Bhebhe said: “We are still en­gag­ing the min­istry to map the way for­ward. We are still push­ing our agenda so that our griev­ances will be ad­dressed as soon as pos­si­ble so that nor­malcy can be re­stored in the health sec­tor.”

Dr Moyo later toured the hospi­tal in the com­pany of of­fi­cials.

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