Zimbabwe desperately needs speech-language pathologists, according to the Africa Health Network in an article on Voice of America. State-owned hospitals and other public health organizations—especially those in the capital city of Harare—can’t keep SLPs employed. Government officials say this occurred primarily because of low salaries.
“Right now there is not a single speech therapist working in public service in Zimbabwe,” says Michele Angeletti, country representative of Christian Blind Mission.
This was confirmed by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr. Gerald Gwinji, who says the government does not have money to pay salaries of these specialists. Gwinji goes on to explain that Zimbabwe trains SLPs, but can’t retain them, because they’re expertise is highly marketable and they work for private organizations.
The lack of SLPs in hospitals creates a critical communication gap between patients are and medical professionals, states the article. Zimbabwe also needs SLPs to provide key services for patients with stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson’s disease, a cleft palate and autism.