After touring two of the country’s major health institutions, Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals, Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa said he was ready to engage President Emmerson Mnangagwa and convince him to fully appreciate the disaster brewing in all general hospitals following the ongoing strike by medical doctors.
Briefing the media after tour in the capital yesterday, Chamisa described the situation in hospitals as lifeless.
“The health situation in the country is a national emergency. It needs immediate rescue, measures that can be implemented. We must look at this issue as a national emergency. The hospitals look deserted. The situation in hospitals looks lifeless and hopeless. Hospitals are places to resuscitate hope and life but if you come here you are met by evidence of death, darkness and hopelessness,” said Chamisa.
“I have been told of stories that hospital wards were being closed for different reasons among them the non availability of medicine and medical staff. Under normal circumstances, it is the doctor who admits so if there is no doctor there are no mechanisms to admit patients, people are dying,” said Chamisa.
He added, “This is some kind of a genocide. We have people dying because of omissions and commissions of those of us in leadership. I take it upon myself to make sure I will do everything in my power to cause Mnangagwa to see that this crisis is costing people’s lives.
“Ordinary people do not have any other remedies. Those who are in authority and power, those who have access to mechanisms would go to South Africa, India, China to get treatment, but these ordinary people do not have that option so this is a serious issue.”
Chamisa also spoke about medical staff salaries which he said where too meager.
“I also realized that our health workers are in difficulties. I was told of nurses who are earning 300 RTGS which is almost equivalent to US$30 while doctors doctors earn meager wages worth about US$100. I salute our doctors and nurses for continuing to work under such conditions,” said Chamisa.
He however castigated the powers that be for taking a decision to have doctors from other countries instead of paying our own doctors a reasonable salary commensurate with their work.
“I was disheartened to hear about a contingent of 50 doctors coming from Cuba to work here. Instead of us paying our own doctors we have resolved to import doctors. The problem with other countries importing doctors is they do not have their own doctors. But in our situation, we have doctors who need a descent wage so that they are capacitated to do their work. Even for those that are coming we will still need accommodation and reasonable wages,” Chamisa said.
The doctors have embarked on a 100-day strike and yesterday marked the 37th day plunging the country’s health system into turmoil.