“Report when Doctors Refer You To Their Private Surgeries” Says Minister Of Health

The Minister of Health and Childcare, Dr Douglas Mombershora has told parliament that patients must report to him when you there are reffered to private practices from government hospital.

By Takunda Mandura

Responding to a question by Hon Getrude Mutandi during questions and answers session

What is the Government policy on medical doctors who refer patients to their private surgeries? For example, expecting mothers are referred to their private surgeries when in actual fact, medical assistance can be rendered at Government hospitals,” said Hon Mutandi .

Dr Mombershora assured the nation of disciplinary action to the rogue medicail personal

“When such cases arise, the patient is requested to put in writing that they are leaving Government hospital against medical advice to go and get treatment elsewhere.  So, my advice is that when such cases arise, where a Government medical practitioner is referring a patient to his private practice, please let us know so that appropriate and disciplinary action can be taken,” he said.

Doctor are allowed to have private practice but are not allowed to transfer patients from government hospitals.

“It is allowed at a certain level, especially the consultancy to have private practice, but it is not allowed to transfer patients that you have seen in Government to your private practice; unless the patient has insisted that they no longer want to be treated in a Government hospital,” he added.

Zimbabwe has been deteriorating especially since the 2000s because of the country’s economic collapse. Public health institutions have struggled with obsolete infrastructure as well as drug and medical supply shortages.

Inflation eroded the value of the local currency, and salaries of health workers were not spared.

Zimbabwe was one of 55 countries identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March to be facing the “most pressing health workforce challenges related to universal health coverage”—the density of doctors, nurses, and midwives being below the global median (49 per 10,000 people) and a universal health coverage service coverage index below a certain threshold (55)

Medical Tourism

“We are losing millions each year through these referrals,” said Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, highlighting these figures during his mid-term budget review in 2019.

In the $4,5 trillion 2023 National Budget, Prof Ncube set aside 11 percent of total expenditures towards the heath sector, which is short of the eventual target which is to meet the Abuja Declaration of 15%

The Government has continued to support the health sector using internally generated resources, and assistance from development partners.

Ban from striking.

In January, the Zimbabwean government, through an amendment of the Health Service Act, banned public health care workers from striking for more than 72 hours. Strikers face disciplinary action, while organizers of such strikes can face imprisonment for up to six months, a fine or both

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