Doctors strike: Patients suffering
5 December 2018
PATIENTS are bearing the brunt of a stalemate between doctors and their employer as the former demands salaries in US dollars.
The strike by doctors has worsened the plight of the patients who are already struggling to buy medication that is being sold in US dollars.
This has left many patients especially those with critical conditions accessing health care at a snail’s pace.
A visit by H-Metro to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday showed that the majority of the stranded patients were those with serious conditions who had been referred from a lower level of care without capacity to deal with complicated conditions.
A 70-year-old woman who had been referred to the hospital was among those who were failing to access care due to the stalemate.
“As you can see my legs are paralysed and I’m due for another review as my condition is not getting any better. I had been asked to come for a review today but the nurses told me that there were no doctors to attend to me so I should rebook a date for February.
“I’m just waiting as the nurses said they were calling to find out if there was a doctor who could attend to me at Makumbe Mission Hospital in Domboshava,” she said.
A woman had this to say after failure to get treatment for her baby:
“My child is suffering from a sore throat. Her temperature was checked and it was high and then I was asked to go and buy pills as we wait for the doctor.
“I was saddened hearing that there were no pills at the pharmacy. Honestly how should we survive in situations like these because under normal circumstances a hospital is where you get treatment but when they fail what should be done? To make matters worse, the nurses were on go slow.”
A 14 year-old who had broken his leg, was screaming in the corridor due to pain.
“I can’t bear this pain any longer. I am being told that there no physicians at the hospital. The only thing left for me is to go to a private clinic to get assistance,” he said.
To highlight that the situation is not getting any better, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) in a statement said:
“We wish to set the record straight that the industrial action that started on December 1 2018 is still ongoing and the healthcare crisis in the country has reached an unprecedented critical level.
“We are even greatly disturbed to learn that the Minster of Health went on national television in the evening of yesterday (Monday) to misinform the whole nation that the ongoing industrial had been called off. He went on to acknowledge; there is a serious shortage of vital medicines in public hospitals but nothing was being done.
“Today (yesterday) marks the fourth day since the industrial action was declared. All central hospitals in the country are now operating at a very low capacity. There is fear that if immediate and robust interventions are not done to address the crisis, all public health institutions might collapse,” read part of the statement.