A time bomb for Zimbabwe: Mugabe government blamed as drug shortages hit hospitals

The country’s health delivery system is under severe strain with major government hospitals facing a critical shortage of drugs.blood donors In Bulawayo, the situation is dire as Mpilo Central Hospital has below 50 percent of its requirements, a situation that is affecting the health delivery system in the city. Most patients have to buy their own medicine which most of them cannot afford. Mpilo Hospital Acting CEO, Mr Leonard Mabandi, confirmed that they are able to deal with the diagnoses part of treatment but the hospital is however unable to treat patients due to the unavailability of drugs. The National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) is unable to supply the hospitals with their requirements, according to Mr Mabandi. United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Harare Central and Parirenyatwa hospitals are also experiencing a critical shortage of essential medicine. Efforts to speak to UBH CEO, Mrs Nonhlanhla Ndlovu were fruitless as she was said to be attending interviews, but the ZBC News is reliably informed that there is also a critical shortage of essential drugs some of them as basic as simple pain killers.   Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have raised concern over the shortage of drugs and other medical sundries, saying the problem is seriously affecting the disadvantaged members of the community who do not have money to purchase drugs. Some hospital patients from Parirenyatwa and Harare Central hospitals said they are registering their concern to hospital authorities and are pressuring government to intervene. Some said they have been asked to purchase drugs as simple as paracetamol but due to their financial circumstances, they are failing to purchase the simple drugs. Others with relatives who are admitted in some of the public hospitals said they are concerned because they are failing to access medical drugs. A visit by the ZBC News to some of the public referral hospitals revealed that after examining a patient public hospital doctors write down a prescription for drugs for the patients, unlike before when the doctor would just indicate on patient’s card the drugs which nurses would request from the pharmacy for the benefit of patients. Reports say the hospitals are failing to provide even simple things like cotton wool and patients are being asked to purchase to make their treatment easy. Some patients say drugs are an important component of treatment which requires government to prioritise in budget allocations. The government says it is committed to the provision of drugs to the ordinary Zimbabwean with millions of dollars of tenders being floated for the provision of drugs.