An anonymous doctor, using the pseudonym Unscrupulous Skilled Rebhara, on Twitter, has painted a gloomy picture of the country’s health system as a result of years of neglect by authorities.
The problems have been compounded by a shortage of protective personal equipment, something that has forced health workers to avoid treating patients until they return negative COVID-19 test results.
The challenges affect both public and private hospitals and no citizen is free from danger, both the rich and the poor. He writes:
Scenario 1: If you have a road accident in a major high way and suffer a serious injury you are most likely to die because all the referral hospitals are ill-equipped. I know this because I worked in Gwanda, Mutare Mutoko, Lupane, Chivhu.
The ambulance system is not that good, our air evacuation system is only for the rich. So you will either die or be permanently injured. # Let us have a health system for all. They talk of surplus, where is the surplus going. Inyika rudzii inoti a doctor ndirigioni (which country on Earth is a doctor called a demoniac)?
Scenario 2: God forbid you get COVID, and you need admission or ventilator. You will curse the day you were born. I can assure you no hospital will take you in. The lucky elites, by the way, only a few of them will get access. The majority of us will watch our relatives die a painful death.
Scenario 3: God forbid you get cancer. I will give an example of a lady I know who gave me permission to tell her story. The lady has breast cancer, but the stage of the cancer can be cured by an operation. Guess what? We couldn’t help her because last time at work we were not doing electives. We were doing only emergencies since September 2019. I’ve lost count of how many patients who had curable cancer which became incurable…that operation in private she needed 2000usd…
I will not keep quiet because no one is safe. We have a surplus, every quarter we are surpassing our targets in revenue collection. Do the right thing. Equip hospitals, give healthcare workers PPE, no to threats, no to insults.
Scenario 4: Don’t be the couple that has been trying for a baby and you get pregnant and delivery is this year in public hospitals. I shall not say anything, let these pictures speak for themselves [attached the pictures of seven babies who were stillborn at Harare Hospital] #.
I shall not keep quiet because #. may try to “donate”, we will not keep quiet. This is not the time for politicking or games, lives are at stake.
Lastly, Scenario 6: Your relative or you with a medical or surgical emergency, your ulcer may perforate, you may end up in DKA coma, you may have appendicitis, you can have an intestinal obstruction. Our govt hospitals are not admitting.
You may say I will go to a private [hospital]. Lemme break it down for you; consultation for a specialist is 120 USD, every visit 100usd, operations ranging from 600usd to 5000 USD, deposit for hdu is about 3200 USD, usually covering 5days,… I haven’t factored in investigations, scan abdomen and pelvis 110us…
And before that admission, you need a COVID result which is about 65usd. It takes 24hrs to come out. Well, you just got lucky govt has forced all hospitals to admit without COVID certificate. You will get admitted you won’t get care because no staff will attend you meaning you won’t get drugs until that result comes out.
We try to speak but no one listens. Some think they are rich, some think they are politically connected. It doesn’t affect them. I assure you it will. I have the rich begging, making phone calls, offering me money yet hey end up dying in car parks, they die a horrible death. Fix health care for everyone. #. I shall not be silent. I will keep talking.