EXCLUSIVE: Karoi Residents Turn To Zambia For HealthCare

KAROI residents have resorted to seeking health services in Zambia claiming their district hospital is not offering quality healthcare, HealthTimes has learnt.

By Kudakwashe Pembere Recently In Karoi

It takes about 2hours to travel to Zambia and residents in the area feel comfortable travelling to the country 152 Kilometres away. A woman who wanted to have her brother’s x-rays taken was frustrated to find the x-ray room closed.

“I asked the reception people who referred me to the xray room. But now there is no one there and Im thinking it stays like this I will go to Zambia. Its better to be treated there.

“I hear that the X-Ray machine is not working because there is no electricity here at the hospital. I was prepared to pay for the ZW$60 bond they want for the Xrays but now that they are closed, I will go with my brother to Zambia. In Zambia it is cheap and people can get treated there,” said the woman who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity.
Another source explained that her nephews and uncle had to travel to Zambia for treatment.
“My uncle and nephews went to Zambia for treatment. The uncle had a heart disease and the nephews had a medical condition which Im forgetting the name. They went to Zambia and received the treatment. The nieces had to leave with their uncle to avoid paper work.
“Now the Zambians are complaining that Zimbabweans just come and leave unofficially and at times they don’t pay. It’s really funny. But seriously speaking if I don’t see my son with a broken leg not getting better or doesn’t get a plaster, I will just cross over to Zambia and pay up the medical fees they want,” said the woman. “In Zambia, I know people do not have to endure a lot of paperwork before treatment. In Zambia, its better because at the hospital is where you get all the medication and health attention required until you get well. They then compute the fees which are mostly affordable. I think about USD50 is enough to have my son get a plaster and other medical interventions.”
She was not pleased with the treatment given to her child opting for Zambia.
“These health workers are on strike, a go-slow of some sort. They just ignore some of the patients, you can hear women having labour contractions call for help but they are just ignored. The same with the food they get is not for someone one who is not feeling well. They are getting half a cup of porridge in the morning, in the afternoon they get sadza and cabbage for almost a week. I hear they recently bought some soya chunks.
“Cabbage is not for everyday, the patients may lose their appetite especially here with the way they cook it.
“The nurses held a meeting recently where they were telling us that they will be going to look for firewood for the meals and we are afraid to be asked to look for it,” said the woman.

A Zambia based Zimbabwean doctor who requested anonymity said the phenomenon is not common among Karoi residents but Victoria Falls’ as well. The doctor often meets about two Zimbabweans everyday.

“In Victoria Falls and Hwange,people  are going to Livingstone,In Kariba they are going to Lusaka,In Karoi they are also going to Lusaka, everyday I meet at least 2 Zimbabweans in hospital,” he said.

Acting Mashonaland West Provincial Medical Director Dr Dhliwayo in an interview said he was not aware that people are crossing over to Zambia.
“It is the first time hearing this. I am not aware of such instances. If you had people in Chinhoyi where I am stationed, I will gladly clarify some of the things,” he said.
This scenario is similar to what people living with HIV are reportedly doing to buy ARVs due to the shortages in the country.
HIV activist Gumisai Bonzo said they have resorted to pooling financial resources together and send a team to Zambia and purchase the drugs which are cheaper and available.

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