THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has warned politicians against using the dire situation beveling the health sector to score cheap political millage.
By Michale Gwarisa
Ever since Zimbabwe changed its head of state in November 2017, the health sector has been under massive ambush from high profiled politicians who been taking turns to make hospital visits, giving donations and freebies in the company of cameras and media all in the name of building a name for themselves.
In a statement, the ZADHR national executive warned against such practices and ordered politicians to stop the abuse immediately.
“The ZADHR wishes to warn members of the public, the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) and the ministry of health officials on the resurgence of unethical practices in which politicians are taking advantage of the scarcity of health care services to propagate political campaigns.
“ZADHR also advises medical doctors and other health professionals from being used to attend political rallies under the guise of medical outreaches and be used to sway the electorate political choices. The Hippocratic Oath and ethical code of conduct in Zimbabwe does not permit the provision of health care to be selective and partisan or of medical professionals to use the trust endowed in them by their patients as a political bait,” said ZADHR.
Over the past few weeks, the First Lady, Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa has been at the forefront of Hospital visits where she has been donating food and basics handouts to rural hospitals around the country, a move most health human rights watchers deem to be politically calculated ahead of the forthcoming harmonized elections.
It is believed that rural areas are ZANU PF’s political stronghold and such a move by a President’s wife would send a signal to the already impoverished rural folks who rely heavily on handouts to change or influence their their political choice. In Chivi, Masvingo, it is also reported that an outgoing member of Parliament is giving out Painkiller drugs to all those who would have attended his rallies, something health authorities are yet to take action against.
Meanwhile, the ZADHR says it will take up the issue of politicization of the health sector and press for legal action where necessary.
“ZHDR will alert the MDPCZ and take appropriate legal action against these acts. ZDHR has noticed that in these so called medical outreach campaigns, medical interns and medical students who are not allowed to consult patients without supervision are normally paid small incentives to do these sad acts.
“The doctors are also made to see thousands of patients in a few hour, compromising quality of care received by patients. At times, patents are seen in open spaces, violating their privacy and there is poor documentation, leading to complex health repercussions.”
ZDHR says it will also urgently notify the MDPCZ of the political medical outreach being planned by the Nyanga South MP, Supa Mandiwanzira on 23 and 25 March in Nyanga.
“ZDHR condemns the politicization of health care urgently advises the said politician to ensure medical priorities take priority than political expediency.”