Zimbabwe’s deteriorating health institutions have become death traps with health care workers now washing bandages for re-use while pain killers are now a rare commodity, doctors told Health minister Obadiah Moyo Wednesday morning.
In a no holds barred meeting at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, senior doctors who downed tools on Tuesday citing inadequacy of consumables and equipment told the minister that their working environment was not conducive.
Speaking at the meeting, one Dr Wazara a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital said:
“We have no bandages that are made locally in Kwekwe. The unit is actually washing bandages in the bathroom and using them next day. It’s really bad and the situation is getting worse resulting in infections increasing and people dying. There is no pethidine, bandages, painkillers or betadine.”
Senior doctors expressed anger on government’s failure to provide basic consumables and equipment used in hospitals on a daily basis.
A senior doctor identified as Dr Guzha who works with cancer patients at Harare Central Hospital and Parirenyatwa said some deaths could have been avoided if there was a sense of urgency in buying medical supplies.
“We do not have cancer drugs young girls who are 16 and 18 years are coming to us with the hope of getting help. When they come here we just give them a diagnosis and send them home to die even in situations that can be avoided,” he said.
Dr Chimuka weighed in saying it was really surprising that Zimbabwe’s public hospitals were purchasing equipment with no service contracts.
Another senior doctor identified as Dr Mashumba blamed the tendering process for the dilapidated machines.
“The tendering process is taking long and machines end up becoming rundown beyond repair a situation that could have been avoided,” he said.
Health minister Obadiah Moyo said the ministry said the ministry would break protocol to address the urgency of the situation at hand to save lives.
“We must be able to work immediately on immediate problems,” Moyo said adding that government was working around the clock to close the supply gaps and ensure Hospitals are adequately stocked.
The situation at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is likely to get worse if the junior doctors join the ongoing strike.
Last week, the Zim Morning post team visited the hospital and patients were being treated in corridors because of lack of beds.