THE Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) has revealed shocking details of the endemic corruption which has eaten deep into Zimbabwe’s health sector.
By Michael Gwarisa
An assessment carried out by ACT-SA indicates that Medical practitioners in the employ of the government also operate private businesses (clinics, hospital and surgeries) and are accused of spending more time at their private businesses than at government hospitals amongst a host of other ills.
Mr. David Jamali, the Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) urged the Government of Zimbabwe to develop appropriate policy responses to contain the problem in the public interest.
The many cases of conflict of interest and other forms of corruption by medical practitioners demand appropriate policy responses from relevant authorities.
There is an increase of cases of theft of drugs and absence of doctors when they are supposed to be at work. In most cases, they are found at their private businesses. That has left many patients unattended to and deaths of patients who are supposed to live.” he says
Mr. Jamali also bemoaned poor salaries of health practitioners and urged the government to increase them to prevent medical practitioners from spending more time at their personal businesses.
“Whilst the government should pronounce itself on whether or not all medical practitioners should continue running their personal businesses, it is equally important to address the problem of remuneration, which is driving them to hunt for money elsewhere to feed their families.
“They deserve decent salaries to keep them at work. As ACT-SA we also think that supervision of medical practitioners should be improved. How can one visit a hospital and told that there is no single doctor available at any point in time? This should not be tolerated at all” he adds.
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The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) produced a report on conflict of interest and other forms of corruption in the health sector.
The assessment also revealed that theft of medication and equipment was rife and this has been exacerbated by the fact that these medical practitioners operate private businesses which are used to sell the same.
Medical practitioners, particularly doctors, abuse government medical facilities for personal gain. Doctors attend to and treat private patients using government facilities;. Medical practitioners, particularly pharmacists and doctors, create drug shortages to benefit from referrals to their private businesses.