MASVINGO – Some 23 protesters embarrassed the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo as he addressed people who gathered for the national commemorations of the World Aids Day at Mucheke Stadium recently.
Some of the protesters, who were from HIV and Aids lobby group; The Aids Arts Foundation (TAAF), lay down in front of the high table as Moyo conducted his address.
They raised a banner written, ‘Communities Need Doctors and Drugs’ and they managed to grab the attention of the media dignitaries there present.
Health ministry spokesperson Donald Mujiri tried to persuade the protesters to disperse so that they could negotiate later but the protesters refused.
The protesters said they were there to raise awareness against government’s failure to address the shortage of drugs, equipment and other things needed for hospitals to operate optimally.
They said they were displeased that government was not taking seriously the grievances of health personnel in public hospitals; a crisis which has seen doctors going on strike for several weeks.
“The theme for this year’s World Aids Day Commemorations is, ‘Communities Make the Difference’, but how can they make the difference if they are incapacitated? There are no drugs in hospitals and people living with HIV, we can’t get anti-retroviral medication.
“The doctors are on strike and the nurses are demoralised. People are dying of opportunistic infections and there is no second line treatment. It’s difficult if not impossible to make the difference needed under those circumstances,” said TAAF national coordinator Emmauel Gasa.
After his address, Moyo refused to take questions and hos security team barred journalists from getting close to him.