Govt appreciation of medical practitioners with farms highly commendable



Johannes Marisa
HEALTH and development are symbiotic in nature,  a nation can develop well when its people are healthy. That is what, therefore, drives economic development. A country that has a significant proportion of its population reporting absenteeism due to ill-health stands a high risk of little or no growth. Health is one factor that should be valued greatly and our country has both the public and private health practitioners standing ready to drive the health of the nation forward.

There was great jubilation among private health practitioners when President Emmerson Mnangagwa acted swiftly on the request by medical practitioners to be considered for non-monetary benefits. Practitioners had written to Mnangagwa requesting to be considered for land allocation and exemption from vehicle import duty for one car over a period of five years. Many people thought such benefits were supposed to be for public health workers who are in government hospitals.

Those who have been involved in COVID-19 fight can agree with me that medical wars are fought by everyone, be they clinicians in their surgeries, doctors in their clinics, specialists, laboratory scientists, radiographers, who all come together in historic King Shaka’s cow-horn formation to stem the virus.

It is an open secret that Zimbabwe has fared very well in terms of COVID-19 control and medical staff has worked tirelessly to save the masses. Many medical practitioners succumbed to the fiendish COVID-19 and it is sad that a majority of them passed on in the line of duty. We will forever remember our departed cadres, who could be with us today.

Motivation comes through a lot of ways with both intrinsic and extrinsic factors coming into play. According to Herzberg, there are two different factors that affect motivation in the workplace, the hygiene and motivation factors. Hygiene factors will cause an employee to work less if not present while motivating factors will encourage an employee to work harder if present. Motivating factors, therefore, include such things as recognition, sense of achievement, responsibilities, while hygiene factors include pay, company policies, fringe benefits, working conditions, job security, status. It has been a perennial problem for healthcare workers in Zimbabwe who always go on strike demanding better working conditions, capacitating salaries, among other benefits. In some parts of the world, mere recognition is enough to give enough work morale and the level of motivation can be fascinating.

Brain drain is taking place at an alarming rate with nurses flocking to countries like Ireland, Scotland, Australia et cetera. Africa has always been on the losing side in terms of human capital. The global economic giants always attract our experienced and skilled human capital to their countries.

I realised that many medical practitioners are interested in farming if what I observed is true. It seems some of them had been deprived of land while others had been duped by unscrupulous land agents in districts or provinces.

Hope was now faint and it took some days to believe that Mnangagwa only required less than five days to endorse the applications of medical practitioners.

The gesture is commendable and a step in the right direction as the country moves towards agricultural transformation. Such a step is one huge one that can contribute to agricultural recovery in our country as many of the practitioners have capacity to utilise the land. I am sure if government realises that the medical practitioners are committed to farming, our future requests will be considered even within 24 hours. It is, therefore, advisable that my colleagues in the health sector treat the farms with the seriousness they deserve and at least:

l Utilise the land to the best of their capacity if our country is to move forward. Already, some colleagues are talking of massive poultry, piggery, green house projects to mention just but a few. It would be absurd to apply for vast tracts of land and utilise only 5% of it.

That is a waste of the country’s resources which could have been given to other citizens who have great passion for agriculture. Greediness will not take the nation anywhere.

One should chew what they can swallow if wastage is to be avoided. The land is not for prestige but a source of income that can transform the entire country. Our economy is agro-based and successful agriculture results in higher gross domestic product and economic development ensues.

l Be on the ground unlike being a cellphone farmer operating from a distance of 500 kilometres yet one can afford to be on the ground.

This is what has killed many farms as many of the new owners do not even appear on the farm.

This is unhealthy for production as inputs can be abused, property vandalised, among many things.

Be active on the farm for the avoidance of strokes and heart attacks.

Johannes Marisa is president of the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe. He writes here in his personal capacity.


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