Joseph Madzimure, Harare Bureau
A total of 1 866 Zimbabwean doctors have signed up or applied for the Higherlife Foundation fellowships after 1 504 extra doctors submitted acceptance forms ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Only 362 had signed up last month but there was a surge in applications in the last minute, the foundation confirmed on Friday.
The Higherlife offer for doctors comprises a non-negotiable monthly subsistence allowance of $5 000 per doctor and free transport.
Apart from a monthly subsistence, Higherlife also provides a smartphone as a tool of trade, VAYA pool car voucher to access the hospital at a maximum of three trips per day.
About $10 million from the fund has been set aside for tools of trade including stethoscopes, patella hammers, uniforms and other diagnostic aids.
The Foundation also undertook to provide Wi-Fi at major teaching hospitals in Zimbabwe.
Higherlife Foundation has since extended by six months, the free transport programme for nurses and doctors employed at public healthcare institutions in Zimbabwe.
The extended offer comes a day after Higherlife Foundation extended an offer to pay doctors in the public healthcare sector through a special medical fellowship it established late last year.
The move is designed to enable doctors to go back to work following a long hiatus that had paralysed the country’s public healthcare delivery system.
In a statement on Thursday, Higherlife Foundation said its focus remained on patient care.
“In line with our commitment to putting the patient first, we are pleased to announce that our free VAYA transport programme for nurses and doctors, which has been in place for the past six months, has been further extended and will run through to July 2020.”
The Foundation said along with free transport, its affiliate businesses would “continue to provide free water deliveries to all public hospitals and clinics in Harare”.
Higherlife Foundation has pledged to continue supporting the country’s healthcare system and ensure “our public medical staff are well resourced to carry out their work”.
HLF, using the funds extended from Strive Masiyiwa Family, last year announced a $100 million medical training completion fellowship for about 2 000 junior and senior doctors employed at public hospitals in Zimbabwe.
Higherlife is an initiative of the Masiyiwa Family and is building on a 23-year commitment to education.
The foundation has supported the education of more than 250 000 students in Zimbabwe, Burundi, and Lesotho through its flagship education initiatives — the Capernaum and Joshua Nkomo scholarship programmes.
The Capernaum Scholarship has been running in the last 23 years and provides tuition to orphaned and vulnerable children from early childhood to tertiary education.
The Joshua Nkomo Scholarship (JNS) was established in 2006 and awards scholarships to talented Zimbabwean students through a rigorous selection process, creating opportunities for them to study at local and overseas learning institutions.