By Phyllis Mbanje
The government has been accused of failing to deploy doctors that qualified in April despite a huge shortage of the health professionals.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors deploying Association (ZHDA) president Peter Magombeyi said the government had been making a lot of excuses since April.
“The government has been playing hide-andseek deploying only 15 doctors who recently qualified yet our health system continues to suffer a serious shortage of doctors, not mentioning its obvious implications,” he said.
Magombeyi said the Health and Child Care ministry had given excuses since the doctors completed their studies.
“Those guys have perfected the art of lying,” he charged. “At times they would say that they did not have posts in central hospitals, come next week, we still have to wait for upgrading and many other excuses.”
Mpilo Central Hospital recently bemoaned the acute shortage of doctors amid reports that at least 44 doctors and 20 specialists were needed.
The second biggest referral hospital in Zimbabwe caters for people from Bulawayo, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces.
The acute shortage of doctors in central hospitals has seen junior doctors working extra hours, a situation which compromises healthcare delivery.
Junior doctors at Mpilo in a letter addressed to Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo said they were overwhelmed by working 130 hours per week. Their contracts specify that they should work 56 hours.
“Following the media alerts on the Mpilo situation, suddenly posts were open and we would be told to go to Mpilo and before long, Mpilo was said to be full,” said Magombeyi.
The doctors were also told that the ministry was waiting for formal letters from the hospitals.
“We then went to the clinical directors asking them to write those formal letters and we were told that they had since sent them decades ago and that the ministry are the ones delaying our deployment,” Magombeyi added.
“Several calls by the ZHDA leadership and the affected doctors continue to be ignored and we are worried wether we are working in tandem in saving people’s lives,”
Health Services Board chairperson Paulinus Sikhosana referred questions to the ministry, but permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva did not respond.