HARARE – Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga has said government will ban overseas medical travel for every Zimbabwean including ministers and senior government officials.
Chiwenga said the overseas medical bills were straining the already foreign currency strapped government.
He made the announcement while addressing journalists yesterday at a function unveiling the new Health sector restructuring programme.
“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,” he added.
In a bid to convince the striking doctors and nurses to return to work, Chiwenga also said government will soon avail housing and vehicle loans as part of the conditions of service for those working in the health sector and that there will be a provision of a “health specific allowance.”
The Vice President was given the extra task of leading the Ministry of Health sometime last month following the arrest and subsequent sacking of Obadiah Moyo after being caught up in a Covid-19 procurement corruption scandal.
It remains to be seen how this new directive will work out considering that many senior government officials often go abroad to access better health facilities.
The minister himself is famous for overseas medical visits, with the lastest one happening sometime in July when he went to China.
He has spent the greater part of the last two years traveling abroad to India and China for medical purposes.