Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has assured Zimbabweans the country’s health sector was geared for a strong bounce back following his recent appointment as substantive health minister.
Speaking publicly for the first time following his appointment to the portfolio, Chiwenga said a new era had dawned on the health sector.
“Things will never be the same again. We are restructuring and reforming our health delivery system. We want to rebuild the structures from village to referral level. Things will never be the same again, but we must work together,” he is quoted saying by the State media.
Chiwenga was speaking at Hippo Valley estates in Triangle during a tour of winter maize Wednesday.
The public health sector is currently dogged by numerous challenges including endless strikes by nurses, doctors and other health workers over poor salaries and working conditions. The health workers are forced to operate without personal protective equipment during the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
The striking workers are also demanding their salaries in US dollars.
The government has adamantly rejected the demands saying it was not printing foreign currency.
Chiwenga said the clean-up of the country’s public health sector was being conducted together with the Health Services Board and other ministries including that of finance.
“We have already identified the problems and we do not want a repeat of what was happening before,” he said.
Turning to Covid-19, Chiwenga said; “Mr Covid-19 kills”, adding he was concerned that infections continued to rise in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare.
“I am the Minister of Health and we are faced with a pandemic. We are getting daily updates on Covid-19 and Mr Covid-19 kills. The current state of affairs should not remain like this.”
However, many Zimbabweans have expressed doubt a top government official known for chartering flights to receive foreign treatment would apply himself fully on the national health portfolio.