Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Health Reporter
Government will prioritise investment in infrastructural development and provision of systems and materials required to accommodate the expansion of the country’s surgical care workforce to address the shortage of specialist doctors and improve access to timely care by the people, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has said.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony of the College of Anaesthesiologists of East, Central and Southern Africa (CANESCA), the Vice President, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care said a significant number of people lacked access to safe, timely, affordable surgical care and this caused immense suffering. A total of 12 Anaesthetists from Zimbabwe and another 19 from other countries within the East, Central and Southern Africa region graduated after a four year rigorous fellowship programme.
“The graduation ceremony marks a milestone achievement in our health professionals’ human capital development. Indeed, a well trained workforce is a key enabler in the attainment of an empowered upper middle income economy by 2030.
“In that regard, my Ministry is determined to accelerate attainment of universal access to affordable quality health care services. To this end, our health system requires the right numbers, quality and correct mix of loyal, dedicated as well as competent health workers,” he said.
Conditions requiring surgical care cause 17 million deaths (one in three deaths) per year worldwide.
VP Chiwenga reiterated the importance of ensuring the availability of adequate human resources, not only in the health services but in all sectors of the society.
He said the establishment of regional training institutions to address the shortages of health professionals, especially specialist doctors, was a step towards the attainment of universal health care for all.
“Pursuant to attaining this goal, the region established the college of Anaesthesiologists of East, Central, and Southern Africa (CANESCA) to accelerate surgical specialist training. I am grateful that Zimbabwe is leading in this training and confident that all of you graduating today are going to ensure that Zimbabweans are assured of access to quality anaesthetic care. I call upon other professionals to participate in these regional training programmes. These training arrangements can be regarded as a big virtual specialist hospital as they allow peer to peer learning and ensure an organised, efficient exchange and movement of specialists across the east, central and southern region,” he said.
He said the Government was working tirelessly to address the challenges being faced by health workers with the view to putting in place decent working conditions and making tools of trade available.
“Let me remind you, dear graduands that you have a huge task to provide quality services and to monitor your juniors. My Ministry will ensure that you are fully integrated and supported in your work. So far, the Ministry has conducted a comprehensive assessment of surgical services in Zimbabwe and a team is expediting development of the National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia strategic plan,” he said.
The graduands said although the journey had been long and difficult, they were excited to use the knowledge they had acquired to save the lives of Zimbabweans across the country.
“It took us four years to finish training after which we sat for an examination and we are happy that we all passed and we now have a qualification. We are ready to face the challenges and deliver quality health services to our nation in all the provinces and districts,” said Dr Tafadzwanashe Magodora.