Panafrican News Agency

Zimbabwe hospitals not functioning since March 2019 – Doctors

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Hospitals in Zimbabwe have not functioned since March 2019 on the back of shortages of medicines, sundries and medical equipment, it has been revealed.

Appearing Monday before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, Senior Hospital Doctors Association spokesperson, Aaron Musara painted a gloomy picture over the state of hospitals in Zimbabwe.

“Our Zimbabwean hospitals have not been functioning well since March 2019 and things eventually came to a standstill in September 2019, with hospitals having run out of essential drugs and sundries and a lot of essential hospital equipment having either broken down to require replacements or urgent repairs which was not done,” he told the committee.

“Even the most basic things such as syringes are now hard to come by in the hospital. In the end, hospitals had turned out to be dangerous places for patients to come into.

“Doctors could no longer afford to come to work anymore because their wages were not enough to cover their coming to work. Inflation had affected them so much and also the hospital working environment became so unsafe for both patients and doctors alike,” he added.

Power shortages also hampered the nurses abilities to provide proper healthcare to patients.

“The Minister of Health and Childcare (Obadiah Moyo) and the permanent secretary (Agnes Mahomwa), we approached them several times but still nothing had been done to rectify the situation,” Musara said.

Musara, together with other senior doctors, were appearing before the committee following a petition that the doctors served to parliament in November 2019 over their paltry wages and the state of hospitals.

Two months prior to this, doctors had declared that they were incapacitated and stopped reporting to work over the issues that they later petitioned parliament about.

Appearing before the committee, after the doctors, Moyo responded to the issues raised by the doctors stating that government was overwhelmed.

“The current healthcare administration and government inherited a bankrupt system with no healthcare resources, empty warehouses, no medicines, and no surgical sundries requiring an annual minimum of at least US$500 million and in addition to another US$200 million for the replacement of the obsolete equipment," he said.

"Furthermore, there is a need for local currency to rehabilitate the current dilapidated infrastructure and a separate budget from Treasury to meet the salaries of a disgruntled workforce with a low morale. The deterioration, honourables, has been going on over the last 20 years resulting in annual industrial actions."

He said that government had been frantically working on solutions to revive the healthcare delivery, but the state of the economy was making it difficult to resuscitate the sector.

-0- PANA TZ/AR 3Feb2020