Original Research

Political conflict and community health in Zimbabwe: Health professionals’ perspectives

Evans Shoko, Maheshvari Naidu
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 8, No 1 | a414 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v8i1.414 | © 2020 Evans Shoko, Maheshvari Naidu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2020 | Published: 18 December 2020

About the author(s)

Evans Shoko, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Maheshvari Naidu, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Politics is a major determinant of community’s access to health. The right to access to health for communities and individuals has been recognised as vital by international bodies and national constitutions. Several studies have considered the negative effects of political violence on community access to health.

Aim: This study aimed to explore the complexities of political conflict in community health praxis.

Setting: This study was conducted in three clinics in Chegutu Urban District, Zimbabwe. The site was particularly chosen because political conflicts therein have rarely been studied in terms of their indirect and subtle effects on community health.

Methods: This study used a qualitative research approach to gain a deeper understanding of political conflict and community health by interviewing 20 health professionals selected through stratified random sampling. The data obtained from these interviews were thematically presented.

Results: From the participants’ responses, it became clear that politics determines the nature of community health programmes, and individual access is partisan and contested. Political conflict to some extent increased intra-group conflicts amongst health professionals, leading to non-collaboration in healthcare. Conflict-induced economic decline has led to structural shortages and environmental pollution.

Conclusion: The study findings demonstrate how politicisation of access to health can have detrimental effects on the excluded members of the community.


political conflict; community health; violence; social fabric; governing party; opposition party; health professionals; community.


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