Row over Indian specialist doctors

HARARE - A group of visiting specialist Indian doctors was forced to cancel high profile meetings with their Zimbabwean counterparts when police arrested them moments after arriving in the country on Thursday for allegedly practicing without licences.

The incident came just a few weeks after President Robert Mugabe’s government scrambled to avoid a diplomatic row with India following utterances by Zanu PF Harare province political commissar and MP — Shadreck Mashayamombe who called on government to deport Indians residing in the country — on charges that they were denying locals economic opportunities.

Prominent local doctor Vivek Solanki yesterday told the Daily News On Sunday that the Indian doctors were wrongly arrested because they were not seeing any patients.

“They were not seeing any patients but had come to chat with my doctors, view my new clinic and pay condolences on the loss of my mother. We have lost all leverage and respect of the Indians and they will never come back and will spread this bad adventure far and wide.

“What the medical registrar has done is treasonous... to say the least. I am extremely ashamed and devastated with this event at this juncture of our economy. Our own institutions are sabotaging much-needed development in the health sector,” Solanki said.

He accused Josephine Mwakutuya, the Medical and Dental Council of Zimbabwe registrar, for causing the “unlawful” arrest and humiliation of the specialists.

However, Mwakutuya said she had acted in terms of the law, accusing Solanki of having sent an SMS to all doctors to bring their patients so that they could be seen by cardiologists and orthopaedic surgeons.

She said that she acted using powers vested in her in terms of Section 74 of the Health Professions Act to stop the doctors from practicing without licences.

Mwakutuya said even though Solanki said he was acting in terms of Section 129, which states that any foreign doctor can treat a patient in Zimbabwe without a registration as long as he is invited by the patient, he was obliged for ethical reasons to inform the regulating council in case something bad happened to the patients.

Mwakutuya said when she visited Solanki’s Trauma Centre, there was a patient who was being attended to, while the doctors reportedly claimed that they were on Continuous Professional Development.

But an angry Solanki insisted that the Indian doctors’ visit was intended at exploring possibilities of investing in Zimbabwe by building hospitals.

“They wanted to meet with local doctors and some of their patients to better understand the disease patterns in Zimbabwe. They were not here to consult patients… This was part of the Indian High Commissioner and Speaker (Jacob) Mudenda’s effort to attract foreign Indian investment in the health sector,” he said, adding that it was agreed that they would come to Trauma Centre, Borrowdale to do this.

He accused Mwakutuya of coming to the hospital shouting before calling the police to arrest the Indian doctors within seconds of their arrival — saying he had captured the whole incident on camera.

“The Indian doctors were chatting to (Dr) Brian Paketh our local orthopaedic surgeon and no patient was there... she shouted at the police to arrest them making a big fuss and disturbing other patients who were there to see the dentist, physio etc who had nothing to do with the Indian visit,” he said.

“At 20:30pm they were released and they came to complain to me about how they were humiliated and will never come back and would spread the news back home.

“They even had to cancel a dinner they were hosting at the Venue in Avondale where they were meeting more Zimbabwean doctors to gauge the need for new hospitals needed in Zimbabwe,” fumed Solanki.

The specialist doctors left on Friday without fulfilling their mission.

Comments (4)

Mwakutuya you are just as over zealous as a zanunoid.There are shortages of doctors and most doctors have been on strike for the past weeks.Surely there was a good way of confronting that issue without causing the arrest of the specialists.You want to be seen to be a very alert person who adheres to the to the laws of the land when there are quite a lot of issues that you have failed to solve in the medical profession.You act like a Zanu pf stooge who rush to arrest before they even know the crime that has been committed. To the majority of Zimbabweans it would be a very welcome development even if the doctors had started practising without licences given the situation obtaining in this country. You cause the arrest of Doctors who are actually on a mission to look for prospective investments in the medical field?Shame on you!

janana wa bikaz - 13 March 2017

These are the no-gooders who think they are raising the country's profile by their quick-to-act, too-slow-to-think attitude. Just like the storm troopers at road blocks. How people who appear on paper to be educated reveal how much of it they still require is a monumental disgrace. Typical of Zanu PF appointees, little merit and more noise.

Sagitarr - 13 March 2017

Arrest those bastards, they pay no tax , they employ only their kinsmen , they underpay our brothers and sisters . Soon the curtain will close on them

shelz - 13 March 2017

We don't need them. Whenever we need specialist doctors we charter Air Zim and fly to Singapore or better still to Switserland when the sanctions are removed.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 13 March 2017

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