Please save our doctors

HARARE - The handling thus far by the government of the ongoing industrial action by the country’s medical doctors has left a lot to be desired — reflecting very poorly on both the bona fides and humanity of the so-called ‘new dispensation’ now in power.

To those who may be confused about the issues at play here, let us attempt to break it down for you. The strike by the medical doctors concerns the life and health of the majority of Zimbabweans.

Indeed, while our over-pampered politicians can afford to get treatment abroad when they fall sick — as they always do — the ordinary citizen has no choice but to seek help at Parirenyatwa, Mpilo and other dying medical facilities, with or without strikes by doctors.

To make matters worse, our leaders appear more keen, for example, to bend to the extravagant requests of our Parliamentarians, instead of meeting halfway the modest demands of key medical personnel.

In fact, the government appears hellbent on dashing any hopes of ending its impasse with the striking doctors after it warned last week that it would soon introduce new legislation governing the hiring of medical staff — to thwart future industrial actions.

This is shocking and just not on.

Are our rulers so heartless as not to be moved by the worsening plight of people at public hospitals, as well as the warnings by medical experts that urgent action needs to be taken if the entire public health edifice is not to collapse completely?

Indeed, and as if the strike by doctors is not bad enough on its own, it has now emerged that the government may be putting the lives of thousands of people at risk — after it  recently started dispensing expired drugs in hospitals, including life-prolonging anti-retroviral medication (ARVs).

Despite their incredulous denials and desperate spins of this untenable situation, medical experts are very clear.

They say unequivocally that the recent decision by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), to extend the shelf life of expired drugs, puts the lives of many patients at risk.

International drug manufacturing firms also say expired medications that contain preservatives may be unsafe past their expiration date — warning further that outdated preservatives may also allow bacterial growth in them.

What will it take to get the priorities of our rulers right? Do they really believe that pampering traditional leaders and legislators with luxury vehicles is more important than saving the dying health sector?

Sigh, sigh!


 

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