Thursday, June 21, 2007

Zimbabwe's health system has collapsed

Zimbabwe's health service is no longer in danger of collapse, but has collapsed, a doctors' group said Monday.

"It's chaotic. Don't get sick right now," said one Zimbabwean doctor who asked not to be identified as strike action left sick and infirm patients at a main government hospital Monday uncertain they would get attention, even for minor ailments.

Some drifted away from the outpatients' lobby at Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare as work stoppages by junior doctors, nurses and hospital staff over pay and deteriorating working conditions continued and were spreading.

Doctors and staff who showed up for duty were overwhelmed and could not bridge the gap left by striking colleagues, hospital officials said.

A doctors' group said Monday the government had failed to "address the prevailing emergency in the public health sector."

The Zimbabwean Association of Doctors for Human Rights said the crisis left all the nation's major referral hospitals unable to function.

"It can no longer be said the health service is near collapse. The emptying of central and other hospitals of staff, and therefore patients, means the health service has collapsed," the group said in a statement.

It said even if staff were not on strike, most could not afford transport fares to reach their posts that now exceeded monthly incomes. ...

This is part of the AP report...

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