Nearly a third of Zimbabwe's doctors could be fired, an official said, throwing the country's already ailing public health care service into turmoil. Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
Nearly a third of Zimbabwe's doctors could be fired, an official said, throwing the country's already ailing public health care service into turmoil. Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Zimbabwe seeks to slow exodus of doctors as economy collapses

By Bloomberg Time of article published Sep 29, 2020

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INTERNATIONAL - Zimbabwe is seeking to tighten the rules on how a certificate which its doctors need in order to get work abroad is issued as medical professionals flee the country’s collapsing economy.

The so-called “Certificate of Good Standing” issued by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe may now need prior approval by the state, the Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association said.

Professional bodies rely on the document as proof of clearance that doctors seeking work and study placement in a foreign country, among other things, have no outstanding disciplinary issues regarding patient care.

“The CGS is never issued by a government anywhere in the world,” the doctors association said in a Twitter posting.

Zimbabwe’s two-decade economic collapse is touching new lows with inflation at more than 750% and the country’s currency collapsing. Shortages of food and fuel are common and a quarter of the population, including many of the country’s doctors and teachers, have left to seek work in South Africa, the U.K. and other countries.

“This has a bearing, as the government determines who goes out of the country,” Aaron Musara, the secretary-general of the doctors association, said in an interview on Monday. “The government is trying to retain staff at a time when they are failing to keep them” happy in their work, he said.

Jasper Chimedza, Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary for health, didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

The southern African nation’s health sector has not been spared from the wider economic meltdown. It’s frequently been hard-hit by strikes lasting several months over low wages and shortages at public hospitals of everything from medicines to personal protective equipment needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors earn salaries starting at Z$9,000 ($110) per month. The council, which has 3,371 registered doctors in the country, didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries.

BLOOMBERG

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