from Seattle PI:
... A report by six independent Zimbabwean doctors indicates the scale of the collapse.
"Elective surgery has been abandoned in the central hospitals and even emergency surgery is often dependent on the ability of patients' relatives to purchase suture materials from private suppliers," it said.
"Pharmacies stand empty and ambulances immobilized for want of spare parts ... this is an unmitigated tragedy, scarcely conceivable just a year ago."
The doctors who compiled the six-page report for circulation among aid and development groups withheld their names because comments seen as critical of Mugabe are a punishable offense.
In an interview this year, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said lack of foreign currency due to sanctions was hindering efforts to maintain equipment. But political violence has added to the burden. The human rights group Amnesty International said hospitals ran out of crutches for victims of attacks blamed on Mugabe's forces.
The independent Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, an alliance of human rights campaigners, said doctors and medical staff were chased from rural clinics to keep them from helping opposition supporters, while many city hospitals couldn't cope with the number of patients injuries sustained in beatings and torture blamed mostly on militants of Mugabe's party and police and soldiers.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says at least 200 of its supporters died in the violence, with thousands more beaten and made homeless.
No data is available on how many lives have been lost because of the medical crisis, but the report said hospital admissions declined sharply because of the cost of treatment and transportation over long distances to clinics and hospitals.
In recent years, 70 percent of births took place in health facilities; now it's under 50 percent, the report said....