Coronavirus: MPs snub shocking

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HARRY PETER WILSON – THE recent snub of tours by the majority of members of the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Care of Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to evaluate its preparedness to tackle coronavirus (Covid-19) is quite shocking to say the least.

It is unfortunate that this is happening at a time when the world is on its feet frantically trying to find ways to control the spread of this deadly disease.

It seems our Members of Parliament (MPs) think this coronavirus is a joke.
And we are talking about MPs who should be the custodian of our communities; MPs who live among our communities and should be the conveyor of vital information.

The people deep in the rural areas need basic information on coronavirus; how they can detect it and the prevention methods which their communities can easily adopt.
But surprising we have MPs responsible for health issues snubbing such an important tour of Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital and Robert Mugabe International Airport.

How will the legislators stand in Parliament when it comes to the crunch of debating our preparedness to fighting the coronavirus when they fail to appreciate an opportunity in visiting the only hospital facility we have prepared for any eventuality?

While there have been serious concerns from various quarters that our airports are ill-equipped to deal with the screening of those entering the country, we have MPs snubbing a visit to inspect Robert Mugabe International Airport so they see for themselves.

It boggles the mind when only five out of 39 members of the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Care attend such important tours.

Do these MPs realise that this is a global emergency health crisis that needs the collective effort of government, Parliament, civic society and the generality of the people?

How busy were these MPs to fail to spare a day which could have equipped them with enough data so that when they debate the issue of our preparedness they have all the facts.

We need Parliament to lobby Treasury to release funds to equip both Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital and Robert Mugabe International Airport with the right equipment.

The legislators make our laws, hence we hope they quickly craft one that will protect us from this deadly virus; it is the people who voted them and seconded them to Parliament where they are supposed to represent Zimbabweans’ interests.

The coronavirus is infecting everyone from politicians, doctors, nurses, millionaires to the poor; hence this should be a wake-up call for our MPs that we are dealing with a bigger problem that requires urgent attention.
Our leaders should be in the forefront talking about coronavirus and this includes pastors, priests and bishops because their places of worship gather large congregates in concentrated spaces.

We want to see our politicians, Cabinet ministers and the presidency springing into action and speaking out on this virus. And so should our MPs, chiefs and traditional leaders.

There is need for political will from government and it has to make resources available for this health emergency.
Our popular personalities that include musicians, actors, dancers, DJs and sports stars should also join in the fight and speak out on the virus.

As Zimbabweans, we can start raising funds geared towards this fight; we also have a lot of corporates who can join the fight and pour resources that can go into training of health care givers and mounting a concerted campaign that should reach marginalised communities.

Our MPs’ attitude towards coronavirus has to change and they should stop whatever they are doing and prioritise on this virus, otherwise they are doing the masses that voted them a disservice.

Wilson is DOP president

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