Newly appointed Health and Childcare Minister, Dr Douglas Mombeshora has commenced consultations with stakeholders in the healthcare sector to get their feedback and expectations with the aim of reviving the country’s health sector.
By Michael Gwarisa
Top on his priority list is the revival of the country’s healthcare sector through retaining skilled health personnel as well as improving the living and working conditions for workers.
In an interview with HealthTimes on the side-lines of the ICASA Marathon Meeting in Harare, Dr. Mombeshora said while the issue of skills flight is not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone, he intends to address challenges bedeviling the health sector including plugging the exodus of healthcare workers.
Before I talk about Zimbabwe, If you go to the United Kingdom (UK), you find that Doctors who train in the UK, want to go to America and doctors who train in South Africa want to go to Australia to work there. The issue of brain drain is an issue that is very important for me and we need to see how we can retain our staff. The issue of retaining our staff is going to be high on my priority.
“But also part of retaining staff means they have got something to use. We want to look at the workplace and we want to look at the tools to use and then for the patients, we also want to see if they have access to our health facilities and when they have access to the health facilities, do they get the necessary treatment that they require,” said Dr. Mombeshora.
He said his skills retention vision was not limited to nurses and doctors but to the entire healthcare sector skills.
“Our main task is to produce a healthy nation. We are not just looking at Doctors and Nurses but the whole spectrum of excellency who is in the health system from Radiographers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and others. Challenges will always be there.”
He added the ministry was aware of other challenges being experienced in the healthcare sector such as shortage of drugs, medical equipment, and sundries and he promised to use his term in office to bring these challenges to an end.
“I am only two days old in my ministry and I have already started consultations. I hope I will be able to consult with all stakeholders starting with my staff in the ministry and going on to meet the doctors and to meet the various stakeholders so that I get input of what are the challenges they are facing so that we can map a way forward after meeting them and knowing exactly the challenges that they are facing.”