The health sector ruined by illegal sanctions

Takunda Chimwaka.

Government of Zimbabwe is struggling to steer the broken and devastated health system due to the illegal economic sanctions imposed by United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU).

The sanctions which were said to be erroneously targeting individuals have their impact now ravaging ordinary citizens, a case which has brought misery in the once ‘bread basket of Africa’.

Regardless of the country’s significant effort to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, TB and other pandemic diseases, the devastating impact of sanctions have dragged these efforts to the ground.

Proponents of democracy and human rights, the West to be precise, have always declared Zimbabwe ‘a deadly sanctuary’ in abusing human rights. One would then wonder if the same Western regimes are ‘safe havens’ for human rights if they impose sanctions which impact negatively on an ordinary citizen.

The health sector is one of the key pillars of any nation which should be handled with sanity.

The unprecedented effects of sanctions which crippled largely the economy of Zimbabwe also resulted in the huge brain drain. Skilled medical personnel are leaving the country in search of greener pastures.

The country is also currently experiencing strikes and stay away by nurses and doctors who are taking the Government to task on increasing salaries and allowances.

The Zimbabwean health sector has always been heavily relying on donor funding. The majority of the donors from 1980 were the Western Regimes. Calamitous sanctions imposed a blow on the existence of these donors.

Most importantly, to note with concern is that, the impact of these illegal sanctions resulted in the shortage of foreign currency. The country’s health sector was also backed by imported drugs and other medical services. However due to shortage of foreign currency the supply cannot meet the demand.

It does not need one to see through that the imposed destructive sanctions have reduced the country to a survival of the fittest jungle.

The Advanced Cambridge Dictionary defined sanctions as ‘strong action taken in order to make people obey a law or rule, or punishment given when they disobey.’

One would then wonder that, punishment is effected where there is a punishable offence. If it was the 2000 Land Reform Program which invited sanctions, my question would be ‘is reclaiming what rightfully belongs to you a punishable offence?’

Well, one can still leave the Land issue behind considering that the Second Republic is making considerable effort to solve it, but again one would question, ‘are the efforts to compensate white farmers not enough?’

It is worth to consider that the impact of the catastrophic illegal sanctions are more than just the land issue, but a threat to human life. An ordinary, post-independence born Zimbabwean, who has nothing to do with the land issue is suffering as sanctions have crippled the health delivery service.

I call upon the West to remove the sanctions on Zimbabwe and consider the reengagement efforts being made by the Second Republic.