By Mutsa Makuvaza
ZIMBABWEANS woke up Wednesday to social media reports that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga had travelled to South Africa for an emergency medical checkup.
Quoting an unnamed “source close to the Vice President”, the reports said that VP Chiwenga, who doubles as the country’s Minister of Health and Child Care, is set to go for his routine medical checkup in South Africa today.
However, Zimbabwe Voice can confirm that the Vice President is in the country and has no such medical check up planned in Zimbabwe, South Africa or anywhere else in the near future.
“The Vice President is in good condition health-wise and is in Zimbabwe at the moment,” a top official in his office told this reporter. “Let me also state that the Vice President Chiwenga has no such planned medical check-up, whether locally or abroad.”
This was corroborated by renowned journalist Maynard Manyowa.
“The Vice President is in the country (Zimbabwe),” said Manyowa on Wednesday afternoon. “He is in Zimbabwe. At least he was in Zimbabwe an hour ago when I spoke to him. That’s what he said.”
He added: “We spoke on Video call and he is in Zimbabwe. I also agree with you, social media is a challenge at times, with fake news.”
VP Chiwenga last week directed that government would no longer avail foreign currency to assist Cabinet Ministers and other senior officials seek medical treatment in state-of-the-art health facilities outside Zimbabwe.
He also promised to improve conditions of service for public health workers who have been on strike demanding better salaries and working conditions.
“We will not export our patients. We will not make referrals to our patients. It is everybody, ministers. Those who have been going out it is you and me. Is it not it? Altogether but that export bill was too high and that is what we want to do away with,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has a national medical bill that is high. It is, therefore, imperative that the country develops a method of containing the import bill through health care innovations for import substitution.
“This entails inverting the import bill burden into export receipts either in part or most importantly in the whole. This will improve the funding of the national health care system.
“We will have hospitals that will specialise in different treatment services across the country. We are restructuring from the village health worker right up to the top hospital.” – Zimbabwe Voice