Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Indian doctors who were arrested last week for operating without licences after being brought into the country by Trauma Centre Borrowdale owner Dr Vivek Solank could have been part of an elaborate dishonest syndicate of such medical practitioners. Sources said authorities were aware of some doctors from that country who in the past, came disguised as tourists, but ended up offering medical services in their hotel rooms after making prior arrangements with their local patients.
This posed a serious health risk to patients and is against rules and regulations governing the work of foreign doctors and local doctors trained in foreign lands.
A foreign doctor or one trained outside the country has to undergo a five-year apprenticeship under a local doctor or specialist at a Government hospital before they can get a licence to operate.
The three Indian doctors were later released and they have since left the country.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa yesterday condemned Dr Solanki’s actions and praised the Medicines and Dental Practitioner’s Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) for playing its part by cracking the whip on Trauma Centre Borrowdale.
The MDPCZ intervened after a tip-off that there were some foreign unlicensed doctors treating patients at the place.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the MDPCZ was a respectable health professions authority throughout the region, which was made up of seven councils representing the whole health sector.
“They are the umbrella of the health sector in terms of ethics and professionalism and I am aware that there are situations where they are insistent on who has got a licence, who is practising without a licence and that is why they went to this particular outfit (Trauma Centre) to check,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He dismissed allegations by Dr Solanki that Zimbabweans were anti-Indians, saying all doctors regardless of race or nationality were welcome to provide services to Zimbabwe provided they followed stipulated rules and regulations.
“We have a lot of Indian doctors here, we want more of them to come and work here,” he said. “I have gone to India myself to solicit and recruit Indian doctors to come and work in Zimbabwe, so that is absolutely not true that Zimbabweans are anti- Indians.
“We like Indian doctors, the same way we like Chinese or English doctors, there is no discrimination whatsoever.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said the MDPCZ was simply trying to protect patients from actions that could further complicate their conditions and make the whole regulation of the medical profession a nullity.
MDPCZ registrar Mrs Josephine Mwakutuya said there was no way doctors would be allowed to illegally work in the country without being licensed.
“As a country, we must protect our population, if people come here and they are not licensed why should we allow them to see our patients,” he said.
“Should there be any complications, it would be difficult for local specialists to manage a condition that they are not aware of, hence putting the health of the population at risk.”
Mrs Mwakutuya said according to the standing regulations, a foreign specialist doctor could be invited by a fellow specialist for continued care, which did not happen in the case of Trauma Centre.
Dr Solanki has since dismissed allegations that the visiting doctors were attending to patients, saying they had come for Continued Professional Development (CPD).
This is despite that Dr Solanki had sent whatsapp invitations to other local doctors, asking them to bring their patients to his hospital for consultations or opinions from the specialists.