The Sunday Mail
Vukani Madoda The Sharp Shooter
Today let’s talk about our health. Your health and my health. And of course the health of Morgan Richard Tsvangirai rather than the health of President Robert Mugabe because he is as always, as fit as a fiddle and at 92 still standing, still strong and ready to go on forever! Almost two weeks ago the Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Willard Manungo, sincerely regretted the inconvenience caused by relegating the health services sector from an essential service that is usually given the same priority and importance as the security services sector when he announced that they will now receive their June 2016 salaries more than three weeks after the initially gazetted pay day.
The health services sector, which normally gets paid on the 22nd of the month, was shocked to learn that they would only receive their June salaries on July 14th.
What was more devastating for the health services sector is that they were bunched with the rest of civil service while the security sector and the education sector were to be paid way ahead of them.
The implications may indeed have far-reaching effects on the country’s health facilities.
The effects have begun to show, even for people like Tsvangirai who as a Zimbabwean is entitled to good health facilities but due to ill-health only last week was unable to join his mob of rabble-rousers in Mutare to protest for the sake of protesting.
Mr Manungo must understand that not even President Mugabe would want Morgan to die before he gets beaten for a record fifth time in the 2018 elections.
Zanu-PF and President Mugabe want a healthy Morgan to stand in the ring again and be defeated. They don’t want him to hide behind ill-health and they don’t need him fleeing hospitals through alleyways without paying his bills!
It is, therefore, essential for the health services sector to be given priority in as far as salaries are concerned so that they focus on ensuring that democracy prevails in this country by ensuring that there are healthy opposition leaders and healthy protesters.
The energy exhibited by opposition forces and protestors is under threat if the health services sector is unhappy with the way they are treated. When someone becomes ill, nothing else in this world matters.
That person’s health becomes top priority because without good health, that person will not be able to air their political views or carry out their day-to-day activities.
If members of the security services sector fall ill and fail to get the necessary care and treatment, then security is compromised.
The fact of the matter is that the health services sector is in essence a security services sector.
At one point in time even the Secretary to the Treasury himself or his close relatives will fall sick and seek the services of disgruntled personal at health facilities.
I am, however, hopeful, that our health practitioners will raise above material gain and, like President Mugabe recently said, show that they value life more than money and it is for that reason that I conclude this piece by reminding them of the Hippocratic Oath, one of the oldest binding vows in history.
“I swear to fulfil, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
“I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
“I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not’, nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
“I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death.
“If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play God.
“I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
“I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
“If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
May the health service sector rise above their disgruntlements for the good of the sovereignty, unity, peace, development and democracy of this nation.