Letter from Zim On a drip: Zim’s sick public health system

Sinqobile Tessa
SORRY SIGHT: Inside a hospital in Zimbabwe

Monday October 16 marked four years since my father’s passing.

He was one of the many victims of the doctors’ lengthy strike back in 2019.

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The infamous strike went on for over three months, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people countrywide as healthcare personnel downed tools in protest over poor working conditions and non-availability of basic equipment and drugs in hospitals.

My father spent two weeks in hospital and got very little attention as doctors turned a blind eye on patients in their quest to send a message to the government.

Unfortunately, the strike was in vain as the country’s healthcare system remains in a bad shape. The-powers-that-be don’t seem the least bit bothered, showing no desire to improve the situation as they have the means to access healthcare outside the country.

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Early this year, the government claimed to have purchased helicopter ambulances from Russia to airlift critically ill patients but they are yet to be seen.

When other people bemoan the collapse of the country’s healthcare system, I feel their pain as it also hit me where it hurts most.

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On Saturday, a local musician, Garry Mapanzure was involved in a fatal accident in Masvingo Province and passed away 10 hours later at the provincial hospital.

His family is blaming the government for failing to adequately equip the hospital; they insist his death could have been avoided if he had gotten medical attention in time.

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Sadly, the hospital staff had no means to help him, watching helplessly as he eventually breathed his last.

Many social media users joined in and voiced their frustration over government’s failure to prioritise healthcare, with some sharing their experiences. I understood their pain.

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Meanwhile, on the political front, the ruling party ZanuPF seems to be celebrating the recalling of 15 Members of Parliament (MP) and 17 councilors of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) by its self styled Secretary General (SG), Sengezo Tshabangu.

What’s interesting about the whole case is that the speaker of parliament was quick to endorse the recalls even though Tshabangu is clearly not the opposition’s SG and thus had no powers to order the recalls.

Having lost the two thirds majority in the August 23 elections, it appears Zanu PF hatched a plan to have the recalls using an imposter.

Their hope is that they will retain some of the seats in the bye elections and be the majority again in parliament.

Time will tell if their plan works as the recalled MPS are in the opposition stronghold.

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