United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said Health Minister Henry Madzorera had a huge job in front of him but he also had the most donor support off all government ministries.
While not as polished as his predecessor David Parirenyatwa, the ambassador said, Madzorera enjoyed the reputation of being an honest broker.
McGee said Madzorera’s biggest headache was likely to be his permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji who had been put in place by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front at the outset of the inclusive government and came from the military.
He added, however that although staunchly ZANU-PF, Gwinji was technically respected.
Viewing cable 09HARARE324, AMBASSADOR’S CALL ON ZIM MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0324/01 1071410
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171410Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4389
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY CLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000324
AFR/SA FOR HARMON, DOBBINS
AFR/SD FOR SUKIN
AA/AFR FOR MOORE
AF/S FOR BWALCH
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELE GAVIN
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S CALL ON ZIM MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD
¶1. Summary: On April 8 Ambassador paid a courtesy call on
Zimbabwe’s new Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr. Henry
Madzorera. He was accompanied by USAID Mission Director Karen
Freeman and CDC Country Director, Dr. Ruth Walkup. Dr. Madzorera
was joined by his Permanent Secretary Dr. Gerald Gwinji and a
representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was
cordial and brief. The Ambassador assured Dr. Madzorera of the
USG’s continuing support for the health sector in Zimbabwe,
particularly HIV/AIDS. Very briefly USAID and CDC provided
summaries of their on-going programs in Zimbabwe. The meeting
closed with a brief discussion between the Minister and Ambassador
on their common interest in leadership development for Zimbabwe.
¶2. Dr. Henry Madzorera, who is a trained medical doctor, was born
on March 10, 1960. The Kwekwe-based physician is married with three
children. Madzorera holds an MBChB – the degrees of Bachelor of
Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He also holds a Masters in
Business Administration Degree, and a Diploma in Occupational
Health. He is a member of the College of Primary Care Physicians of
Zimbabwe (MCPCZ). He is also an enrolled student at the University
of Zimbabwe’s Masters of Public Health program which is supported by
USG funds through CDC.
¶3. Madzorera joined the MDC in 2000. He ran and lost when he stood
as the MDC’s mayoral candidate for Kwekwe City in 2002. Madzorera
worked as the party’s district treasurer in Kwekwe from 2003 to
¶2006. In 2006, he was elected the party’s secretary for health, a
post he has held since. He was appointed Minister of Health and
Child Welfare, replacing ZANU-PF’s Dr. David Parirenyatwa, in
Long Partnership and Supportive Stance
¶4. The Ambassador opened with an expression of support for the
policies, programs, and activities of the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare (MOHCW). The USG has worked broadly with the MOHCW
for many years but has for the past several years primarily
supported programs in HIV/AIDS with annual programming exceeding
US$60 million which includes ARV coverage for 40,000 people. The
Minister outlined the current health situation and in particular the
problems presented by a lack of investment in the health system, the
brain drain from the sector, staff retention issues, and the current
cholera crisis facing the nation. He said that since assuming his
post he has spent most of his time trying to get a clearer picture
of the Ministry and its staff as well as the health systems and the
current emergency. He said that he was well aware of the extensive
support of the U.S. and looked forward to continued partnership.
The Ambassador said that it was the USG’s intent to support MOHCW
programs, not to create new or parallel ones. Furthermore, he said
that we understood that given the rising interest in Zimbabwe by
donors and funded NGOs, the immediate future of health care
assistance could be chaotic – without express planning and
determination by the MOHCW and other Ministries.
¶5. The Ambassador went on to say that although our programs have
been largely focused on HIV/AIDS, USG programs actually support more
areas. Dr. Walkup explained how CDC laboratory support cuts across
Qareas. Dr. Walkup explained how CDC laboratory support cuts across
diseases. She offered that CDC can also facilitate short- or
medium-term specific health systems strengthening assistance to
MOHCW staff. This would be in the form of specialists who would
work directly with MOHCW staff.
¶6. The Ambassador noted that we have new funding this year in
measles and TB, and increases in family planning funding. Ms.
Freeman added that USAID has had a long partnership with the
Ministry and its very competent staff. She emphasized that U.S.
assistance has always been systems-based and would continue to be so
in order to support the very strong planning framework of the MOHCW.
That said, in addition to the Ambassador’s list, malaria support
had also been added this year in support of the MOHCW plans. She
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said that the USAID Mission is in the process of transition planning
which includes expansion in the area of general health and that they
would welcome the Minister and his staff’s input.
¶7. The Ambassador turned the conversation to the Global Fund and
expressed the USG’s concern that the Fund represented a huge
resource that needed to be managed carefully. The Minister
acknowledged that this was a great resource and that he had met with
the Global Fund representatives recently. The Ambassador informed
the Minister that the USG has been an active participant in the
Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) as a donor representative and
would continue to be so.
¶8. The meeting closed with a cordial exchange between the Ambassador
and the Minister on their mutual interest in youth and leadership in
Zimbabwe. The Minister reiterated how much he welcomed the
partnership of the United States and that he looked forward to
working with USAID and CDC.
¶9. COMMENT: Accompanied by several “minders” Minister Madzorera
said very little but clearly was aware of the past contribution of
USG health programs. Madzorera’s Permanent Secretary Dr. Gwinji,
was one of those put into place by ZANU-PF at the outset of the GNU
and comes from the military. Although staunchly ZANU-PF, Gwinji is
technically respected. Madzorera has a huge job in front of him but
probably also has the most donor support of all of the Ministries.
While not as polished as his predecessor, Madzorera enjoys the
reputation of being an honest broker. He is expected to travel to
the U.S. at the end of April on a Freedom House-sponsored trip with
other members of the government. END COMMENT.