The Zimbabwean government's announcement that it will take control of all clinics and hospitals run by city councils has drawn fire from critics who say it can't run the health facilities it now operates and merely wants to capture a stream of public revenue.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo as saying Harare has approved the takeover to “improve service delivery” and let local officials “concentrate on key service delivery issues.”
Executive Director Itai Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the central government has trouble enough providing staff, medicine and equipment to its own health institutions.
The Combined Harare Residents Association said the government move to take over municipal clinics is also continuing to strip urban councils of power so as to narrow the political base of the opposition. Harare has some 17 council clinics and two infectious disease hospitals, while Bulawayo, the second-largest city, has 19 council clinics.