ZIMBABWE Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) has called for the immediate dissolution of the Health Services Board (HSB), saying this will improve health service delivery in the country.
ZHDA president Fortune Nyamande, in a year-end report, blamed the HSB for the 17-day strike by doctors.
“It has never been the intention of doctors in 2014 to desert their patients and engage in the paralysing industrial action that lasted for about 17 days, but the strike was a result of immature handling of doctors’ grievances, particularly by the dysfunctional, bloated and corruption-infested Health Services Board,” he said.
“The board has become a huge national liability whose legitimacy, or rather relevance, has been discredited not only by all-right thinking adult Zimbabweans, but also even our toddlers and kids at preschools in Zimbabwe.”
The doctors’ association has already praised President Robert Mugabe for firing Paul Chimedza as deputy minister, claiming he was the chief architect of decay in the sector. Now doctors say the best way to save the health sector is by firing the HSB.
“It is on record that in 2014 even midwives from our central hospitals engaged in protest over the failure by the Health Services Board to disburse their allowances from the health transition fund,” Nyamande said.
“This very same dysfunctional board, which has overstayed its existence and grossly underperformed in executing its mandate is the rat in the health sector that daily erodes the motivation of our health workers and siphons the little funds made available by donors.”
He said office secretaries are earning around $1 500, while doctors earned $282 and this has been a result of taking the donor fund meant to supplement the health workers’ income.
“The government should immediately take corrective action on this matter by investigating the Health Services Board and reversing this decision to deduct not only salaries but also living allowances to the already suffering doctors,” Nyamande said.
He said the doctors were ready to challenge the HSB concerning their allowances.
“In January 2015 doctors are ready to put the final nail on the coffin of the Health Services Board and the embattled ministry should there be any attempt to scuttle the disbursement of the much awaited rectified allowances,” Nyamande said.
“This will definitely mark a turning point as short, sharp and targeted programmes of action shall be embarked on, should the Health Services Board renege on its pledges.”