VICE PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga who is also the country’s health minister, has announced the government will ban overseas medical flights for all Zimbabweans, saying the trips are bleeding the country of scarce foreign currency.
Chiwenga made the announcement on Monday as he unveiled a programme to reform the health sector.
Chiwenga said Zimbabwean doctors would be barred from referring patients to institutions outside the country under the plans.
We will not export our patients. We will not make referrals (to foreign medical facilities) for our patients. It’s everybody. Ministers are only about 20 but those who have been going out it’s you, you, me, altogether.
That export bill was too high and that’s what we want to curtail. We want to do away with that, and it requires us to carry out restructuring from the village health worker right up to the quaternary hospital.
Chiwenga was appointed Health Minister last month after Obadiah Moyo was sacked following his arrest over alleged Covid-19 procurement corruption.
The restructuring of the health portfolio is being done in three stages.
The first stage was to add a new top layer to the national health delivery system; the second stage was to develop an organised strategic department, and the third and final stage was to develop and adopt a sustainable funding model for the national healthcare system and develop conditions of services for the health staff to drive the new Ministry of Health and Child Care structure.
The Zimbabwe national health care system traditionally had four levels: primary health centres, district and mission hospitals, provincial hospitals; and central or teaching hospitals.
Chiwenga said that the government has added the fifth level or the quaternary hospital which is a high-level research and development hospital.