Friday, May 18, 2012

(SUNDAY MAIL) Biti blasted for freezing health posts

COMMENT - Tendai Biti and the MDC continue the neoliberal tradition of defunding healthcare and education.

Biti blasted for freezing health posts
Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:24
Tinashe Farawo in Kadoma

The chairman of Zimbabwe Parliament Against HIV, Mr Blessing Chebundo, has criticised Finance Minister Mr Tendai Biti for freezing the recruitment of nurses, saying the move would negatively affect the health delivery system.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Parliament Against HIV workshop, Mr Chebundo said many of the aspiring medical practitioners were roaming the streets because of the retrogressive recruitment freeze. Mr Biti could not be reached for comment yesterday.

“I have always questioned the minister on this matter. We are reversing the clock, there are other issues the Government can forgo instead of freezing the recruitment of critical staff,” he said.

“We are not saying our ministers should not drive good cars, we are saying that can wait while we are recruiting critical staff in order to improve health delivery.

Health for all must be the first priority. We will continue advocating at least 15 percent of the national budget to be allocated to health.”

Government froze staff recruitment citing budgetary constraints. This has resulted in hundreds of trained nurses failing to secure employment. Many health institutions in rural areas are operating with skeletal staff.

Speaking at the workshop, the director of HIV, Aids and TB treatment in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Owen Mgurungi urged legislators to desist from approving budgets that do not guarantee national health. “You must use your political power not to approve a budget which does not guarantee the health of the nation,” he said.

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