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Health Services Bill seeks to clamp down on health professionals says Watson

Health Services Bill seeks to clamp down on health professionals says Watson

Bulawayo Central legislator Nicola Watson has raised objections to the Health Services Amendment Bill arguing that it is not seeking to address the causes of problems in the government health institutions.

Instead, Honourable Watson said the Bill is only seeking to clamp down on health professionals.

She said passing the Bill in its current form will only increase challenges in public health institutions because the health personnel will migrate to the private sector.

Zimbabwe has been facing challenges in the health sector since the turn of the millennium. This was a result of the brain drain that happened as doctors and nurses left for greener pastures.

Despite the brain drain, working conditions have remained relatively poor with workers often complaining about protective clothing, better salaries and working conditions.

The government has often responded with threats and violence among other things.

This has seen the government mooting the Health Services Amendment Bill to block health workers from demanding better conditions.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Honourable Watson said the Bill is not only a waste of time, but also unconstitutional.

‘’Thank you, Madam Speaker, for this opportunity. I will be very brief. I just wish to support the Committee report and thank Honourable Toffa for her presentation and to support Honourable Chikwinya and Honourable Mpariwa. The feeling – to sum up the feeling of the participants in the public hearings was that the Bill does not seek to address the root cause of the problems in our government’s health institutions, that it merely seeks to clamp down on health professionals who will then simply be forced to migrate either into the private profession or out of the country.

‘’It will increase the problems in public health institutions, not decrease them because it does not seek to solve the root cause of the problems in public health institutions in Zimbabwe.

‘’So, apart from the fact that it is unconstitutional, it is against ILO, things that we have signed up to, it is against the Labour Act as it stands and amending the Labour Act to suit this particular Bill for a commission seems like, how is that aligning the Constitution?

‘’That is merely changing the playing field to suit the moment and the strong feeling is that from the participants and from the Committee deliberations, is that the Bill needs to go back to the drawing board with proper consultation of the stakeholders as a whole, the health professionals themselves plus the public,’’ she said.

Health Services Bill seeks to clamp down on health professionals says Watson

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