Doctors for Human rights pursue health for all

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) was formed in November 2002 by a group of doctors and other health professionals against a backdrop of political violence.

Rutendo Bonde
Rutendo Bonde

The combined conscience of this group of men and women realised that as frontline witnesses to the impact of social ills, health professionals had a responsibility to speak out and to engage where necessary as on behalf of the vulnerable.

This was a home-grown response tailored for home-grown problem solving. Since then the agenda of the organization has grown to embrace the full spectrum of health and human rights. Its vision remains clear: “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health by all Zimbabweans”.

Since its inception ZADHR has trained and built the capacity of more than 3,000 doctors, nurses and student health workers on torture, management of victims, documentation of human rights violations and advocacy. It has also built health worker’s capacity to develop interventions that address violations of the right to health and assist health workers in making rights-based input on health policies.

Other activities include:

• Advocacy on conditions of prison detention and training of prison officers on human rights as well as educating more than 1,000 prisoners on their rights as prisoners;

• Establishing a Zimbabwe Health Students Network to get student health workers actively involved in advocacy on human rights violations;

• Publication of bi-monthly newsletters, fact sheets and other relevant informative and educational material on health rights for health workers.

In 2009, ZADHR was honoured with the Jonathan Mann Health and Human Rights Award in recognition of the organisation’s work in health and human rights.

Therefore, “the role of health advocacy in Zimbabwe remains a critical component in shaping health policy and legislation as we go forward.

“The act of building a culture of accountability in health financing and in ensuring that the social determinants of health (food, shelter and safe potable water) remain a priority agenda item are vital.”

Post published in: Health

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