By Anna Chibamu
Former Health and Child Care Minister, Henry Madzorera has rubbished plans by the Zanu PF led government to both recruit and deploy less experienced doctors into the country’s public hospitals.
The move is seen as an apparent bid to replace hundreds of junior doctors who have refused to end a crippling strike action that is now over five weeks old.
Government on Thursday announced it was recruiting over 200 new doctors into the country’s troubled health sector amid endless strikes by staff, coupled with recurrent drug shortages.
In its desperate attempts to bring in as much manpower as possible, government cast the net wider, even on “all candidates who successfully completed their Part V Bachelor of Surgery degrees at local universities and are due to take up their first year internship”.
This follows its unproductive bid to persuade over 500 doctors on its payroll to end their job action which they have anchored on demands for US dollar wages and supplies of drugs and relevant hospital kit in their various work stations.
At a media briefing in Harare Friday, Madzorera blasted the Zanu PF led administration for attempting the unorthodox through plans to throw some inexperienced medical personnel at the deep end without supervision from more experienced staff.
“A houseman is not qualified to work alone,” said Madzorera, who is also MDC national health secretary.
“They have to report to some senior doctor and so, this recruitment of doctors who have just qualified when all senior doctors from senior house officer to the consultant are on industrial action is very mischievous…these young doctors by law are not qualified to practice independently. So this is pure mischief.”
Government has been inundated with demands by its restless workforce to start meeting its salary obligations in US dollars following a recent wave of price increases that have seen prices shoot through the roof.
However, the country’s biggest employer has remained adamant none of its staff shall be remunerated in forex.
Madzorera, in his Friday remarks, accused government of “trying to circumvent” meeting the challenges head-on.
“…The solution they are proffering is not credible,” said the former Kwekwe legislator.
“It will not work and these doctors should refuse because there is some legal liability that may follow.
“If something happens while a houseman is functioning alone without supervision, that houseman is completely responsible for their actions. There is no superior to shield them,” Madzorera said.
He added, “When a medical student qualifies, he/she becomes a doctor by virtue of his/her qualification from the University.
“If you want to continue as a doctor, you can choose to do housemanship or internship under the Ministry of Health still under supervision.”