|Entrance to Masvingo Provincial Hospital|
…as doctors, nurses go on ‘indefinite’ strike
…all patients discharged, no more new admissions
Masvingo Provincial 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 Shamu.
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.