Health Services Amendment Bill needs overhaul

LEGISLATORS want the Health and Child Care Ministry to do a total overhaul of the Health Services Amendment Bill given the glaring rejection by stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s health sector.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

This is a recommendation which came in the First Report Of The Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care on the evidence gathered during the public hearings on the Health Services Ammendment Bill.
“Given the overwhelming rejection of the Bill by the interested and affected stakeholders, the Ministry of Health and Child Care should withdraw the Bill and conduct a thorough consultation process with all the interested and affected stakeholders in order to redraft the Bill,” the Health Portfolio Committee suggested.
During the public hearings on the Bill, parliamentarians saw stakeholders spitting on several sections in Clauses 1 through Clause 5.
With the Law forbidding striking for more than three days ignoring the issue of proper conditions of services which is usually the main reason health workers go on job action, the Parliamentary Committee on Health advised the Law shouldn’t be as harsh.
“The Committee is of the opinion that a good law must serve the interest of the people and it must be reasonable, it should not be too harsh or rigid. Thus, the Health Services Amendment Bill should be recrafted in such a way that it protects the health workers, boost their morale at work by creating good platforms for negotiations and cordial work relations between the employee and the employer as well as creating an enabling environment for quality health care services in the country,” said the Committee.
The Committee observed that Clause 3 is silent on the critical skills that those appointed to be members should have for example, a legal person.
“The Committee noted that there seemed to have been little or no consultation done by the MoHCC in the drafting of the Bill as most of the provisions of the Bill were rejected by the interested and affected stakeholders, especially the health workers during the public hearings due to its seemingly punitive nature towards job action by the health worker,” the parliamentarians said.
Despite participants gravely giving the Bill a thumbs down, Parliamentarians noted that most commended how it a Health Services Commission would replace the Health Services Board.
“Most of the participants applauded the aim of the Bill to replace the Health ServicesBoard with a Health Services Commission. However, the participants stressed the need for the Commission to operate in the same manner as other Commissions established by the Constitution,” said the Parliament’s Health committee.
These findings and recommendations came from Public hearings which were done after the Health Services Amendment Bill was gazetted.
“Following the gazetting of the Health Services Amendment Bill [H.B. 8, 2021], the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care undertook public hearings in accordance with Section 141 (a) and (b) which states that, “Parliament must (a)
Facilitate public involvement in its legislative and other processes and in the process of its committees; (b) Ensure that interested parties are consulted about bills being considered by Parliament, unless such consultation is inappropriate or impracticable.” The Committee split itself into two (2) teams and conducted the public hearing in each of the 10 provinces of the country,” the Health Committee said.



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