Chiwenga a great disappointment at health ministry – says Linda Masarira

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By Reason Razao

HARARE: Vice President, who also doubles as health minister, Constantino Chiwenga, has been challenged to turn around the country’s disintegrating medical care.

This comes at a time social media is awash with a video of South Africa’s Limpopo provincial health minister berating a Zimbabwean patient for straining that country’s health sector.

In a letter addressed to VP Chiwenga, opposition Labour, Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) president, Linda Masarira, blasted the country’s health minister, labelling him a “great disappointment” after failing to usher-in the changes he promised.

“Considering how Zimbabweans danced, ululated and praised you during the restore legacy era, you have been a great disappointment to their expectations, especially in the healthcare delivery sector in which you are also the Minister,” Masarira said.

“We can’t continue to put lipstick on pigs whilst pretending that everything is under control. Nothing is under control. People are suffering, people are struggling and people are dying.”

According to the LEAD president, despite the health ministry getting 15 percent of the budget allocation, VP Chiwenga has failed to ensure better service delivery.

Opposition politician Linda Masarira

“Government has failed to ensure people’s right to access affordable, quality and basic health care in government hospitals,” she said.

“It is time that the budget allocation for the Ministry of Health works to revive the ailing health sector and to have audited statements of the same funds availed publicly for people to see how the funds are used.”

Masarira’s sentiments coincide with a video of South African provincial minister, Phophi Ramathuba, who is heard lashing out at a Zimbabwean patient scheduled for surgery at a provincial hospital in Limpopo after she was involved in an accident.

She said, “He (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) doesn’t give me money to operate you guys and I am operating you with my limited resources, you are killing my health system.”

Ramathuba adds, “When you guys are sick, I hear you just say let’s cross Limpopo, there is an MEC there who is running a charity department, but this is not a charity department.”

An influx of Zimbabweans regularly crosses into nearby Limpopo for medical treatment due to the dilapidating state of their own health sector.

Dr Mike Ramothwala from Limpopo Health Department concurred with Ramathuba, saying statistics show 80% of expecting women at Musina Hospital are Zimbabweans who have illegally crossed the border to seek health services.