Health sector on its death bed

Sinqobile Tessa
SAD SIGHT: Body of a pregnant woman (covered in red blanket)

Our public healthcare system died a long time ago, even though they would have the world believe otherwise.

I can testify to this first hand because I experienced the cruel reality of the collapse of our health system during my late father’s hospitalisation and subsequent death in 2019.

In the last couple of days, our health sector has been under the spotlight following an address by renowned journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono in Geneva, Switzerland last week.

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Speaking at a summit on Human Rights and Democracy, Chin’ono brought to the fore how Zimbabwe does not have a single working radiotherapy machine, meaning cancer patients are effectively just waiting to die as they cannot seek help anywhere.

He also spoke about the high maternal mortality rate of roughly 2,500 deaths per year due to our poor health system.

Of course the regime quickly called him names and labelled him unpatriotic. But on social media, he was trending as many people, including those in the medical field, supported his claims.

Like me, some had real life experiences of unnecessarily losing loved ones in those hospital beds.

What is, however, interesting to note is that while those in the corridors of power are quick to claim all is well in the country, they never seek medical attention locally as they know they won’t get the help they need.

Instead, they spend big bucks flying to South Africa, India, China, Singapore among other countries with proper healthcare systems.

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As if to buttress talks of a collapsed health system, a heart-breaking incident happened on Sunday when a pregnant woman died in an ambulance accident.

The woman was being transferred from a rural area to Bulawayo for a C-section when the ambulance overturned after a wheel came off, killing her instantly.

While the crash was a freak accident, the fact she needed an ambulance at all was because there were no doctors in her area, forcing her to seek medical help in Bulawayo.

Mind you, she was being transferred from one of the biggest districts in the Matabelaland North Province which should be having a fully equipped hospital under normal circumstances.

Again the district had only one ambulance, meaning that for now they have nothing.

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With such damning evidence that all is not well in our health sector, they will still call people sellouts if they speak of these challenges and many others that we face as a country.

It is such challenges that led to the likes of Elvis Nyathi leaving the country to go and make a living in South Africa.

Today, the late Nyathi is known as that Zimbo who was stoned and burnt to death in SA last week.

If Zim was a better place, the man could not have gone to Msanzi and he would still be alive today.

These are dark days we live in!

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