Chiwenga lifts suspension on medical courses

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VICE President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga has lifted the suspension on the University of Zimbabwe’s Masters of Medicine and Masters of Obstetrics and Gynaecology programmes and the ban on enrolled students from accessing public hospitals, the Daily News reports.

This comes as doctors held a meeting with Chiwenga in Harare yesterday where they pleaded to be enrolled back into the programmes and allowed access to public hospitals, saying that they had realised their mistakes in participating in industrial action against the government over poor remuneration.

Addressing the doctors, Chiwenga said the government was working on addressing challenges bedevilling the country’s health sector. He called for them to be patient and calm.

“Chidzokerai kuchikoro (you can go back to school) and finish with your studies. We want professors amongst you. Don’t destroy your talent, it’s a gift from God. Keep it sacred. I have heard your plea and what others have said. Let us do our profession. Now we are saying all hospitals must be run by professors and the minimum qualification must be at least a physician,” Chiwenga said.

“Our job is to make your working conditions as good as possible. In fact we are all working day and night to make sure that you have the best facilities, you have the best working conditions and that your conditions of service become second to none. But to achieve that we must do it together and at one stage we must all sacrifice….In life you sweat before you enjoy and this is the process we are doing.”

Chiwenga said his ministry was working towards availing accommodation for doctors, a reliable and affordable transport system and canteens for easy access to food.

“It is not only what you put in the pocket that makes conditions of service better. The ministry is busy implementing my directive to ensure that all hospitals and supporting facilities have adequate tools of training to enable you to practise and save lives without much hustle. I am very much aware of your plight and I am busy engaging the government and other development partners to ensure that health professionals’ dignity is restored.

“I urge you to remain calm and be at work … we must never forget that the country is on its recovery journey and our government is confident that we will be able to build our health system again. All of us, we must say let us give ourselves time and we must sacrifice,” Chiwenga said.

He further called on doctors to abide by medical ethics, including compassion, dedication, hard work and commitment to attend to patients in any situation.

Chiwenga urged doctors to develop good communication skills for engaging with patients, their relatives and the government.

“I need you to be able to apply this skill on how you should communicate to the government and my ministry in particular. We must develop an excellent communication culture. Let me know the issues that are affecting you and I am committing to resolve them within the limits of the resources available.

“If there is no communication, one is going in that direction and another one in the other direction and there is no solution. In the meantime the very person who requires your presence 24/7 will be suffering.

“If we do this there will be absolutely no need for these perennial industrial actions. I take industrial actions to be primitive. We must be able to sit like what we are doing now and we talk straight to each other and in the meantime no one suffers, but we all understand the issues at stake,” Chiwenga said.

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