Zimbabwe state doctors went on strike for the third day running in the last week of June, adding to the woes of a struggling healthcare system and the government of President Robert Mugabe. Doctors started strike action in the second city, Bulawayo, complaining that a recent evaluation and pay review of public sector jobs had whittled away their monthly salaries.
Equity in Health
The Zimbabwe government's HIV prevention mother-to-child transmission programme (PMTCT) has come under fire from AIDS activists over the slow pace of implementation. But government officials have warned that there was more to the programme than just dispensing nevirapine, the drug that can cut HIV transmission rates by 50 percent. Initially started as a pilot project in three urban sites in 1999, the PMTCT programme has been scaled-up. Thirty-five of the 59 registered health centres throughout the country are now administering nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women, Dr Agnes Mahobva, the programme's technical Officer, told IRIN.
Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Timothy Stamps, has turned down a call by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) to introduce compulsory HIV/AIDS testing of all patients, the 'Daily News' reported on Thursday.
Zimbabwe has passed a new law that criminalises the deliberate transmission of HIV/AIDS, recognises rape in marriages, and imposes heavy penalties for other sexual offenses, AFP reported on Monday.
Zimbabwe's government has declared a state of emergency over HIV/AIDS and will allow the importation and manufacture of generic drugs, a local state-controlled newspaper reported. However, Lindy Francis, director of The Centre, an NGO working with people living with AIDS (PWAs) in Harare said that if true, the declaration was "five years too late".
Figures released by the government last week showing a drop in the number of Zimbabweans infected by HIV/AIDS were only a correction of flawed estimates from previous surveys and did not mean the prevalence of the disease was declining in the country, HIV/AIDS experts said.
Africa will fail to achieve most UN Millennium Development Goals unless countries adopt effective family planning programmes and control rapid population growth, said Khama Rogo, World Bank senior adviser, speaking at a three-day international conference on family planning, organised by the Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins and Makerere universities and held (from 16–18 November) in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. More than 1,000 policy-makers, researchers, academics and health professionals from 59 countries attended the event. Various speakers warned that the rate of Africa's population increase was too rapid, with women in some countries having on average seven children each. ‘Family planning improves maternal health, thereby increasing women's productivity and reducing dependency at both family and national levels,’ said Chisale Mhango, director of reproductive health at Malawi's Health Ministry. ‘Fewer children means manageable education targets; more children means that parents will mainly educate sons, which promotes gender inequality,’ he added. ‘The fewer the children the better the care, the more the food, the lower the child mortality and there will be savings for health provision.’
The Community Working Group on Health will this year commemorate June 6th National Health and Safety day under the theme “Organising People’s power for health”, we do this in solidarity with the Trade Unions of Zimbabwe. The Community Working Group on Health is a network of 30 membership based civic/community based organisations that aim to collectively enhance health and community participation in health in Zimbabwe.