A Zimbabwean doctor has exposed the dire state of the country’s public health system following years of neglect by authorities who prefer to fly to other countries for treatment.
The unnamed doctor said they are now tired of telling people that they will die and of seeing the death of patients who could easily be treated.
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The doctor revealed that they have been looking up to the government, expecting change, but they have now realised that government officials do not care at all. The doctor said:
We are tired of telling patients that you are going to die, tired of patients dying when it could have been prevented. As people who were trained to care, the situation is incredibly distressing. Our morale is incredibly low – the lowest it has ever been – and so many people now just want to leave the country.
We are looking to our government for change, but the truth is they don’t care. The people in power don’t get treated in government hospitals. When they get sick, they go abroad.
They even saw the pandemic as little more than a money-making opportunity. We saw this play out in the multi-million-dollar equipment procurement scandal that led to the recent arrest of the Health Minister as well as the vindictive detention of Hopewell Chin’ono, the journalist who uncovered it.
The government then appointed Vice-President Constantine Chiwenga – a military man known for making insulting comments about doctors – as the new Health Minister.
Nurses embarked on a strike more than two months ago demanding a living wage and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has responded by bringing in student nurses and those who had been out of work for a long time and as a result, hospital wards are overwhelmed or staffed with nurses who are either inexperienced or who haven’t received recent training.