Health committee to assess hospital conditions

Makhandeni- Luveve legislator, Descent Bajila has revealed that the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care plans to conduct nationwide tours to assess hospital conditions, focusing on cancer treatment facilities. 

He said this in response to images circulating on social media purportedly depicting substandard food served in a Bulawayo public hospital.  

“The state of our hospitals is deplorable, there are a lot of improvements that need to happen, but I have to say that with the effect from the 6th of May, we are making a physical tour as the committee around the country,” he said. 

Bajila emphasised that while the primary objective is to evaluate cancer treatment infrastructure, they will also examine the overall working conditions of healthcare personnel. 

“As it stands right now, we have a petition around the treatment of nurse aids, how should they be categorised, are they nurses, are they general workers, we are dealing with that already as a committee, we are at an advanced stage of regularising their working conditions and their conditions,” he said. 

Bajila also said the committee will also focus on the availability of drugs in hospitals. 

“We are yet to summon the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) to have a conversation with them but there is work in progress but still a lot of it,” he said. 

Turning to legislative matters, he expressed reservations about the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill (PVO), highlighting both its merits and deficiencies. 

 “The PVO bill has a lot of areas that are problematic but it also has some areas that are good, unfortunately, the problems in the bill outweigh the goods in the bill, we still need the public to come forth and air its views around the bill in its present state,” he said. 

Bajila stressed the importance of transparency and accountability, suggesting that legitimate organisations should not fear audits. 

 “For example, the bill speaks to Ministers having powers to say a certain person cannot be a director in this NGO because of certain reasons. But the good in it that NGOs don’t want to be audited, I think if someone is doing something that is above board there is a need for an audit.” 

He said currently, NGOs, PVOs, churches, political parties and Civil societies are operating as a black box. 

“In my view, this should be a start not an end, as we move further, I like the society’s act of Zambia which even scrutinizes political parties because if NGOs, PVOs, and Civil Society are being cleaned in such that it does not become a black box if something is in a black box, you put your hand in it, you don’t know what will come up, this is where civil society is at the present moment, but this is where the church is, it is a black box, but this is where political parties are, they are also a black box.” 

Bajila added, “I would love a situation where everyone out there knows about the funds of their church, I would love a situation where everybody out there knows about the funds of their football club, knowns about the funds of their political party and knows about the funds of the PVO that they work in. In my view, it will be an open republic.” 

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