Health practitioners lobby for improved wages


THE Health Services Board is lobbying Government to increase the remuneration for all healthcare workers to curb brain drain in the sector and improve service delivery, a top government official has revealed.
Due to uncompetitive salaries in the local health sector because of economic hardships, the country has suffered massive brain drain, losing experienced health personnel and specialists leaving in search of the so-called greener pastures.
In an interview with The Patriot, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Paul Chimedza said Government had been given a proposal for consideration meant to retain personnel in the health sector.
“We have a Health Services Board that has come with recommendations on how we can improve remunerations of all health care workers including specialists,” he said.
“The proposals are already on the table, so we are lobbying the Ministry of Finance, we are lobbying other Government colleagues that this be implemented.
“The only thing that is left now is the availability of financial resources but it’s not just the specialists that we are looking at, we are looking at all health care professionals.”
Chimedza said the lobby was part of measures to prevent the brain drain of specialist health personnel that is suffocating the medical industry.
“We need to appreciate them (health personnel) more, we need to pay them a living wage based on salaries in the region because they are very much marketable,” he said.
The calls to increase remuneration for health practitioners comes at a time a team of local medical practitioners successfully carried out a complicated medical procedure that saw Siamese twins separated.
Local surgeons have successfully conducted the operation of Siamese twins that were conjoined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen at Harare Children’s Hospital.
This is the second successful operation after the first one in 1983.
Conjoined twins are two babies that are born physically connected to each other.
The operation was carried out by a team of 50 doctors and nurses.
Speaking during a press conference, team leader pediatric surgeon, Bothwell Mbuwayesango, said the operation was conducted without any assistance from outside the country.
“There are very few incidences in the world where Siamese twins are separated,” he said.
“We did not get any help from outside the country.
“This was an all Zimbabwean team.
“The whole operation process took eight hours and a lot of work and dedication was involved to conduct the operation successfully.”
The country has always boasted of highly qualified personnel, but operations have over the years been hampered by poor salaries and lack of equipment.
Pundits said the successful operation indicated that if well paid and equipped, the medical industry has the capacity to take care of the nation and save thousands of dollars being spent outside the country for medical procedures.
The separated twins Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe Chitiyo were born on April 22 at Murehwa District Hospital through caesarean operation, sharing the same liver.
Conjoined twins develop when an early embryo partially separates to form two individuals.
Although two foetuses will develop from this embryo, they will remain physically connected most often at the chest, pelvis or buttocks.
Most conjoined twins are stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Over the past years, many parents in the country were facing difficulties in raising large sums of money that were needed to send their children for operations in countries such as India and South Africa where these operations are mainly done.
Chimedza said if the country averted brain drain, there would be more specialists to conduct more operations.
“Zimbabwean doctors can do what any other doctors can do in the world and are among the best specialists who are conducting successful major operations in many countries,” he said.
“If they conduct these operations in the country, it will save patients from losing a lot of money outside the country.”


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