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Opinion / Columnist

Health sector has virtually collapsed

01 Apr 2022 at 08:14hrs | Views
I USED to blame the country's rich and powerful citizens for seeking medical treatment outside the country until I came face-to-face with Zimbabwe's decaying public health system last week.

When people criticise our leaders such as President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Oppah Muchinguri and former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace for shunning local health institutions, it is because they have never experienced firsthand what our local doctors and nurses go through on a daily basis.

Local hospitals have deteriorated over the years that they are now "departure lounges" for the sick and I don't think our leaders are prepared to take such a risk.

The central hospitals are understaffed, dilapidated, under-resourced and in dire need of an overhaul.

I also do not think that the government has what it takes to resuscitate the sector. That Zanu-PF has neglected the health sector for the past four decades is evident.

When the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, people resorted to home remedies because they had nowhere to  seek help. It is really sad.

Last week, I had to take an ailing relative to a Harare City Council clinic in Glen View where we were subsequently referred to Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (formerly Harare Central Hospital).

After waiting for close to four hours for an ambulance, we had to hire a private car to ferry the patient to the central hospital, where I witnessed firsthand how our health system has been stretched to the limit.

There was only one doctor attending to hundreds of patients in the casualty section. At times, the doctor had to leave patients and attend to funeral parlour officials seeking certification of corpses.

After spending nearly three hours in the queue, my relative could not make it. He died before he was attended to.

I wonder how many people in Zimbabwe have gone through similar ordeals at the country's public hospitals.

How long shall people continue to suffer, while we have a government that thinks erecting Mbuya Nehanda statue is more important than buying ambulances that serve the people?

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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