The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) says is deeply saddened by the lack of urgency on the part of the government in resolving the striking doctors’ concerns and demands regarding their wellbeing and the health of their patients.
ZADHR wishes to reiterate that the primary responsibility in achieving the right to health lies with the government. We also note the lukewarm response as people are losing lives, emergency departments are shutting down, and the children and maternity units closed in major hospitals leaving the indigent further exposed. Therefore, the response by the government through the Health Services Board (HSB) is inadequate, slow and insensitive to the implications of the strike on the right to healthcare.
In that regard we recommend that;
· The government must immediately attend to the demands of the doctors to avert an already emergency situation from getting worse.
· The government in the short to medium term should develop and implement a Human Resources for Health Policy which ensures that health workers are adequately remunerated and retained.
· The government should immediately ensure that health facilities have requisite tools to allow for proper discharge of duties by healthcare workers.
· The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) should weigh in and hold the state accountable for any needless loss of life due to the government’s complacency in dealing with the doctors’ strike. It is the constitutional responsibility of the Commission to protect, promote and enforce human rights.
· The Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Parliament of Zimbabwe must immediately finalise the review of the Health Services Act and make the HSB more independent, functional and accountable.