|Entrance to Masvingo Provincial Hospital|
…as doctors, nurses go
on ‘indefinite’ strike
discharged, no more new admissions
Hospital is no longer admitting or treating any patients after virtually all
nurses and doctors went on strike late last week to protest deteriorating
working conditions underlined by poor pay, shortage of medicines and lack of
personal protective equipment, TellZim News has can report.
The strike reportedly started
on Friday, June 19, coinciding with Vice President Kembo Mohadi’s visit.
Chances are, however, that the vice president did not notice it after local officials reportedly choreographed his tour of
the hospital carefully to make everything look normal.
During Mohadi’s address
after the tour, there was a thin sprinkling of nurses and other hospital staff
members at the gathering.
TellZim News, however,
spoke to many people who said their relatives had been discharged after
hospital authorities said they will no longer be caring for anybody.
A man whose aunt
required surgery and had been asked by doctors to buy some consumables at the
pharmacies had to carry her home after doctors suddenly told him they were no
longer going to operate on her.
A girl who fell ill in
town on June 23 and was taken to a local private clinic where she was denied
admission on the basis that she had to be tested for coronavirus first.
Attempts to get her tested failed as she did not meet the criteria of suspected
cases, having no recent travel history outside the country.
However, Masvingo Provincial
Hospital also turned away, with staff telling her that every patient had been discharged
and no new arrivals were being attended to.
A nurse who spoke to
TellZim News on condition of anonymity said the hospital was as good as closed
down because all health personnel were united in their demands for a complete
overhaul of their working conditions.
When contacted for
comment, Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamu said operations at
the hospital had been drastically scaled back in response to the strike.
“They are operating
with a very thin staff complement as most nurses have gone on strike. The few
available nurses are only attending to the most critical sections like the maternity
ward where some care has to be given to expectant mothers at all cost,” said
He said only senior
nurses were manning the maternity ward and other critical areas where, however,
no new patients were getting admitted.
He also said some
doctors were available to work but they could only attend to cases that have
been referred to them by nurses.
Two doctors who spoke
to TellZim News, however, said it was not correct that some of them were
available to attend to cases.
“Don’t be fooled. As
far as I know, we are all on strike and the sooner authorities attend to our
grievances, the better in terms of welfare of patients,” said one doctor.