DOCTORS at Chitungwiza General Hospital have threatened to tomorrow join in the ongoing industrial action by doctors amidst indications that the situation at most public health institutions has deteriorated and doctors elsewhere were not giving in to the calls to end the strike.
By Michael Gwarisa
The revelations come at the back of a visit by the Health Professions Authority (HPA) to some of the major Hospitals, namely Harare Central Hospitals, Chitungiza Hospital and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where they were assessing the impact of the strike by doctors which commenced a few weeks back.
In an Interview with HealthTimes, HPA Public Relations Officer, Linda Nkala said the conditions at major hospitals had deteriorated and the situation could get worse if government through treasury does not intervene to normalise the situation.
“We went to Harare hospital and we saw empty benches because patients are being turned away. The doctor in charge of Casualty said that the hospital is dysfunctional. They have casualty officers and emergency officers who are Consultant doctors attending to patients but they are now overwhelmed and may also join the strike because of burn out.
“They also closed the Pediatric dept and with this chest infection its a disaster. At Chitungwiza hospital they said they have received formal communication of industrial action due to start tomorrow. As of today the situation was looking better than other Central hospitals. Parirenyatwa was our first stop and you could tell that things are not well. They have closed the out patients to attend to admissions and emergency cases only,” she said.
She added that they were in the process of lobbying the Ministry, HSB and Treasury to find a solution as soon as possible to save the patients who are at the receiving end of this whole situation.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association gave the government a 21-day ultimatum to resolve doctors’ concerns last month. nAfter the ultimatum lapsed, doctors at government institutions embarked on a strike on March 1.
In Bulawayo, several patients, who went to Mpilo Central Hospital said they were also being turned away and those who could afford ended up taking their relatives to private health institutions, while the poor, who banked their hope on public hospitals, were left stranded.
The striking doctors accused the government of failing to procure adequate hospital equipment and essential drugs to allow them to provide quality service to patients at district and central hospitals.
Doctors also called for the uplifting of a blanket freeze on recruitment of doctors and other health workers with immediate effect.
This includes creation of more than sufficient posts to absorb the current interns at central and district hospitals and government officers, to curb service understaffing nationwide.