Govt must urgently solve doctor's grievances

Government should seriously look at concerns raised by senior doctors over the dire situation at the country’s public hospitals.
Yesterday, the senior doctors took their grievances to the street as they have realised it is the only way to draw government’s attention.

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They have said the severe shortage of pharmaceutical drugs and equipment at public hospitals — a situation they say has been like that since November 2018 and has grown worse than it was in December of the same year — has forced them to attend to emergencies only.

Visits to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals showed that indeed the senior doctors were being short-changed as they are expected to treat patients without medicines and even syringes, severely compromising their safety and working conditions as well as reducing their capacity to effectively deliver services to patients. 

The doctors related sad stories of people dying everyday because hospitals have no medicines and that the number of infants dying is also alarming. Traditionally, government is used to resorting to scare tactics to force doctors back to their work stations, however, the patients’ situation has not changed at all because there are no drugs to administer.

Cancer patients coming to major hospitals from far away villages are being turned away. Government has to spring into action to stop further suffering of the ordinary people. At Parirenyatwa, people sit or lie in pain in the outpatient corridors as they cannot be admitted because the wards are already full with patients who themselves are not receiving any treatment.

Accident victims have also not found joy at the hospital and only the lucky ones who have money to buy their own bandages and medicines are being treated. But the majority of people visiting public hospitals are the poor who cannot afford to buy even painkillers, which are also hard to find.

The Health minister must drag his Finance counterpart to visit hospitals so as to have an appreciation of the dire situation our health institutions are in and possibly start prioritising the health sector when allocating funding.

Current demonstrations must not lead to fully-fledged industrial action as junior doctors and nurses might follow suit since they also have to attend to patients without the required equipment.
Coupled with this, patients with simple conditions like appendicitis and diabetic foot ulcers are going for days without the required antibiotics, leading to unnecessary complications.

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