When will Mnangagwa act on Zimbabwe's death trap hospitals?

When will Mnangagwa act on Zimbabwe's death trap hospitals?
Published: 15 March 2019 (220 Views)
She's being called the doctor who moved a nation. This week Azza Mashumba, the head of paediatrics at Harare's main-and-in-desperate-straits Parirenyatwa Hospital, made a tearful plea to the health minister for support.

"Babies are dying," Mashumba said, tears running down her cheeks.

Senior doctors at "Pari" now say that shortages of drugs and vital equipment mean they can only attend to emergencies.

That, said, Mashumba, means this: her unit is delivering still births and disabled babies.

Her raw emotion captured on video has now been viewed tens of thousands of times.

WATCH: Babies are dying



Will President Emmerson Mnangagwa finally wake up?

His wife Auxillia - who promised to help doctors when they went on strike in December and January - is on a two-week visit to New York to attend a UN gender summit together with other top government officials. It might not be a luxury holiday. So far there are no pics of Auxillia squeezing in a bit of shopping a la Grace Mugabe.

But still, Zimbabweans are asking questions. Where are the priorities?

More to the point: how many syringes, bandages and bottles of Betadine might have been bought for the cost of sending officials to the Big Apple?

Another Pari doctor, Faith Muchemwa, told Health Minister Obadiah Moyo the burns unit she heads doesn't have fresh bandages or antiseptic to treat wounds. Staff have taken to washing and reusing bandages resulting in cross contamination and hospital-acquired infections. "Patients are dying more than ever," she said.

What happens now?

Zimbabweans are divided. Touched by Dr Mashumba, some on Twitter have called for Zimbabweans who can to donate towards the running costs of hospitals. Others are firmly opposed to that: why should citizens have to do the work of the government when they already pay taxes, they say.

Besides, this isn't just a forex shortage problem. The doctors themselves told the health minister that simply changing the way state hospitals are run will go a long way to ending the crisis in the public health system. In particular, the tender system for supplies is laborious and clunky, and eventually costs lives.

Bandages can and should be bought locally with local money. But that's not always happening.

Clearly worried, the health minister has said changes must be made. State media has just announced that US$1 million has been found to procure vital medical supplies.

But Mnangagwa needs to show more sensitivity to win over a sceptical and angry public. His government needs to show it is imposing the same levels of austerity upon itself as it is on the people of Zimbabwe.

If not, the tears of Dr Mashumba will be in vain.

Oliver Matthews is a freelance reporter based in Zimbabwe.

- ewn

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Jonathan Moyo fires shots at Mnangagwa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 23 April 2019 | 11 Views

POSA replacement Bill gazetted

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

Fake money backfires

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 8 Views

WATCH: Historic ZITF opens

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 10 Views

Madlela to share stage with Shwi, Freddy in SA

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 8 Views

Border jumper jailed for stealing wheelchair

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

Banks move to arrest card cloning incidents

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 10 Views

Family whips granny to death over witchcraft

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 8 Views

Triangle break Madinda's heart

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

Zec warms up for 2023 polls

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 10 Views

Man fined for exposing genitals to minors

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

Dembare fans demand coach's head

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

Mnangagwa moves to slash bread price

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

MDC congress: Does real democracy exist?

by Learnmore Zuze | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

Easter Holiday accidents kill 24

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

Of market forces and price hikes

by newZWire | 23 April 2019 | 10 Views

MDC seeks to close ranks in Bulawayo

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 8 Views

Mnangagwa, Chamisa to meet at Tsvangirai memorial?

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 12 Views

6 000 delegates for MDC congress

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 8 Views

War vets call for unity as economy bites

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

Price madness: Manufacturers blame retailers

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

Mnangagwa warned of brewing unrest

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 9 Views

Zanu-PF, war vets in fresh row

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 12 Views

Govt withholds teachers' salaries over protests

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 6 Views

Advanced Level Family and Religious Studies: Parables

by Brian Maregedze | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

Structural reforms crucial for turnaround

by Editorial - Daily News | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

'Zimbabwe economic crisis is not about currency'

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 5 Views

PHOTO: Greyhound bus burnt to a shell

by Methusi Ncube | 23 April 2019 | 7 Views

Priscilla Mushonga sucked into Mnangagwa saga

by Mandla Ndlovu | 23 April 2019 | 5 Views

Toyota Hilux Legend 50 to be launched by mid year

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 8 Views

Harare starts disconnecting water

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 6 Views

Chegutu residents take to the streets

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 6 Views

Zimbabwean families now surviving on one meal per day

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 5 Views

MDC set to heal divisions in Masvingo

by Staff reporter | 23 April 2019 | 5 Views