Zimbabweans express mixed reactions over Masiiwa's proposal to fund doctors

vantunews 28th November, 2019
Zimbabweans express mixed reactions over Masiiwa's proposal to fund doctors

Following the Telecoms tycoon, Strive Masiiwa's proposal to help pay for doctors $5 000 monthly for the next six months through their non-profit foundation, questions have been raised, praises have been made as well as criticism by some Zimbabweans.

The offer has received a mixed reaction from some Zimbabweans on social media with some criticising Masiiwa for overstepping their role as a foundation and others praising them for taking responsibility to help end the ongoing health crisis in the country.

Prominent journalist, Mduduzi Mathuthu, on his twitwer handle, opined that Masiyiwa is trying to buy time for ZANU PF since he is on record saying that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is “sincere”. 

Also commenting on Twitter, a human rights activist, who is also a medical practitioner, Dr Norman Matara says the plan is not a sustainable solution, not long term and doesn’t address other challenges in the health sector like chronic lack of medicines and sundries.

He also added that although the intention may be good, it will not work. because the offer only targets junior doctors only and not middle-level and senior doctors, district and provincial doctors not included. 

Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi announced that their charity organisation, Higher Life Foundation, had come up with a “unilateral initiative” to set aside ZWL$100 million “medical training completion fellowship” fund that will cover up to 2 000 doctors – provided that they return to work.

The Foundation also promised to provide the doctors with a smartphone, a taxi ride from home, uniforms and diagnostic aids.

In as much as it is appealing to take up the offer, it will not help much for the reason that the Health crisis in Zimbabwe requires introspection before any knee jerk reaction because the problems are far too big, and therefore does not require a short term fix. 

Some of the questions asked are, what then will happen after 6 months? Even if doctors accept the offer, it will not solve the issues to do with obsolete equipment that needs to be replaced, medication in the hospitals among other important factors. Citizens have to demand their government to deliver.

With a government that has very misplaced priorities, the Healthcare crisis is far from over.