Last week, the Health Professions Authority Zimbabwe (HPAZ) launched a blitz to flush out health practitioners operating without valid practice certificates as the Government moves in to bring sanity to the health sector. The blitz is expected to bring sanity, while exposing the shocking levels of malfeasance in the sector.
According to the authority, there are several individuals masquerading as health practitioners and operating without valid practicing licences, making it difficult for the Government to regulate activities in the sector.
This has resulted in the proliferation of backyard unregistered drug distribution and dispensing centres that are engaged in unorthodox health practices, risking the lives of people. It is the same ill-meaning individuals who are sustaining the black market for illegal and expired prescribed and over the counter medicines, finding its way to Zimbabwe from various countries.
Every drug has after effects which should be monitored by a medical practitioner and the same drugs have storage conditions, which when breached reduces their effectiveness, or causes side effects or reactionary problems.
Regulatory measures on drug usage can be effected by qualified medical practitioners, so is treatment of any ailment. Sadly that has not been the case because of a litany of individuals, who are masquerading as health personnel. Such health violations fly in the face of the Government’s efforts to sanitise the health sector through the promotion of a good and regulated health delivery system.
We therefore welcome the decision by the Health Professions Authority to protect the integrity of the sector and protect multitudes of people from hideous practices by unregistered health practitioners.
The blitz should not be regarded as a self-servicing initiative by the authority and albatross to existing so called health centres, but it is a welcome move to rid the sector of unscrupulous practices.
Registered practitioners with valid certificates are fully appreciative of the authority’s oversight role, and could give leads to the authority on individuals who are masquerading as doctors, nurses, misleading the public and patients when they do not hold such titles.
Qualified health professionals are aware that their field, just like any other is subject to a myriad of oversight structures and processes, some voluntary and some mandatory.
The blitz should also not only be perceived in bad light, but should be embraced by everyone to assist in the creation of an accurate database in the health sector.
In line with the country’s vision of ensuring that Zimbabwe attains a middle-income economy by 2030, the Government requires healthcare models that take into account future workforce requirements, the distribution and work contexts of existing practitioners, training needs and grey areas it needs to focus on.
This becomes tenable with an updated data base. No doubt the blitz achieves short-term objective to rid the health sector of ill-practices. The Government will in the long run need sustained policing in the health sector for accountability, while ensuring that health practitioners that carry out their duties properly and are held responsible if they fail to do so. Such long-term policing system will uphold the health sector integrity, deter misconduct and protects lives of patients.
Life is sacrosanct, and should not be left in the hands of bogus medical practitioners.