Welfare of health workers top priority: Chiwenga

By Staff Reporter

HARARE – Health workers must consider the needs of their nation before they look for opportunities elsewhere, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday while officiating at the graduation ceremony at the school of nursing and midwifery at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital formerly Harare Hospital.

Government would continue to prioritise the welfare of health personnel, but at the same time health professionals should consider the resources available.

Zimbabwe has some of the best trained medical personnel in the world and as a result has seen others, including first world countries, seeking to snap up these skilled staff.

This demand and subsequent migration has taken a heavy toll on the country’s health delivery.

Against this background, Government is now moving in to reward professionals to fend off international interest.

Yesterday’s graduation also saw Government honouring local surgeons and their supporting staff who participated in the successful separation of conjoined twins.

Their success has led to requests from other countries to have their citizens with the same conditions attended in Zimbabwe, a move that dovetails with the vision of medical tourism.

On behalf of President Mnangagwa, VP Chiwenga yesterday unveiled the Medal for Meritorious Service on the hospital and all staff that participated in the delicate separation of the twins.

A senior member of the anaesthetic team, Dr Samson Shumbairerwa, who passed on a few weeks ago was honoured posthumously.

“Human capital development is one of the national priority areas of the National Development Strategy 1,” said Chiwenga.

“Therefore, human capital development within the health sector is a vital component for the attainment of the other priority area in the NDS 1, that is, health and well-being.

“Strengthening health workers’ training programmes will, no doubt, play a major role in producing high-quality professional and ethical healthcare professionals.”

The training at the hospital has contributed to the provision of able nursing support in theatre and intensive care that saw the hospital twice, in 2014 and 2021, performing the ground breaking operations to separate conjoined twins at the paediatric hospital.

“You are all aware that the aforesaid surgical feat earned special recognition by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Cde Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa,” said VP Chiwenga.

“The President bestowed the Medal for Meritorious Service on the hospital which I have just unveiled today, in recognition of those who participated in that surgical operation.”

Government continued to improve the conditions of service for health personnel through momentary and non-monetary incentives as well as availing a conducive working environment for health staff.

“In the year 2023, the Ministry is focusing on the re-equipping and refurbishments of our hospitals,” said VP Chiwenga.

“The Ministry is instituting a host of interventions to improve the welfare of our healthcare staff.

“These include monetary and non-monetary incentives. The monetary incentives include a continuous review of health-specific allowances: cushioning allowances, Covid-19 allowances as well as a continuous review of salaries.

“The Government has committed a lot of resources to your training. It costs US$38 000 per year to train a nurse. Therefore, you need to give back to the nation by offering your dedicated services to the people of Zimbabwe who have sacrificed for your training.”

A total of 576 nurses in different specialities graduated yesterday, including those who finished their training from 2019 but a ceremony could not be held because of the Covid-19 containment measures.

One of the nursing graduates, Sister Josephine Gumbire, thanked Government for availing amenities for their training and promised to serve her country with distinction.

“We are geared to render comprehensive, quality nursing care to the ailing Zimbabwean populace,” said Sister Gumbire.

Dr Junior Makoni, one of the members that were honoured for a successful operation to separate conjoined twins, was happy the team was recognised.

“In the line of our service we always strive to do our best. But this recognition is something that excites us,” he said.

“I am very happy. It is a good thing to be honoured, and we feel honoured by this award.” – State media

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