Community Development Health

Women’s Coalition urges President Mnangagwa to urgently address deteriorating healthcare provision

By Anyway Yotamu

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), a woman’s organization umbrella board has blasted the deteriorating health sector in the country and urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to urgently address the situation.

In a statement, the pressure group says women and girls have lost the little hope they had realised before the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown.

“The day-to-day lives of women and girls have lost their hope especially in the health sector that the lockdown socio-economic problems had purported to provide. With the inception of the lockdown on 30 March 2020, the lives of women and girls would have improved in a state policy that would balance the issues of lives and livelihoods, with the government in the lead. This has not come to pass.

“Women have faced an unprecedented innumerable loss of lives in maternal health, limited to non-existent access to basic health care in most primary health centres, a protracted shortage of medication, lack of patient care, lack of resources including basic medication, no substantive access to family planning pills and services, and the unacceptable absence of key personnel at these centres with no resolve to address the issues on the part of the Government,” said WCoZ.

The women are urging President Mnangagwa to address issues that ensure availability of qualified health personnel in the country’s health facilities.

“We, therefore, implore you, Mr President, to urgently address the issues of ensuring the availability of qualified health personnel in all the health centres. At the onset of the local response to the global COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, His Excellency committed to giving fortnightly updates on the lockdown situation and concurrent response, but this has fallen by the way side as the nation at large is kept guessing as to the true and accurate position of Zimbabwe in the wake of COVID-19,”said Wcoz.

The pressure group also added “It is, therefore, our key ask that the President, in whom all power and accountability to the citizenry resides, communicates the current status quo in relation to the allegations of corruption and subsequent dismissal of the Minister, the status of health personnel at health centres throughout the country; reflects and acts urgently upon the rights of the patients, workers rights notwithstanding and reviewing the patients charter to ensure its contents and spirit are carried out to the letter in the interests of addressing the immediate needs of women and indeed all the citizenry in Zimbabwe; transcends the discourse of arrests and arbitrary unilateral solutions, thus ensuring that the prioritization of resources and investment into the public health system is urgently addressed as a reflection of his stated political will and commitments, and in line with his responsibilities to the country as a whole.”

The calls come at a time the nation is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic at the same time health workers have downed tools citing poor working conditions.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende