Bad economy hits Zimbabwe’s healthcare

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Undaunted Robert Mugabe.
Undaunted Robert Mugabe.

The bad economic situation in Zimbabwe is threatening hitch-free health delivery as important drugs disappear from state run hospital.

The major state hospital in Zimbabwe has suspended routine surgery after running out of painkillers, underlining the country’s worsening economic crisis.

Local media quoted by Africa Review reported that Harare Central Hospital, the country’s second biggest, said it would focus only on emergencies, intensive care and maternity cases.

President Robert Mugabe’s government faces a cash shortage that has fuelled recent street protests and forced the treasury to print its own US dollar “bond notes” from next month.

“Due to the critical shortage of pethidine, injectable morphine, adrenaline and antibiotics, it was decided that we suspend all elective surgeries,” privately-owned NewsDay quoted head of anaesthetics Harunavamwe Chifamba as saying in a memo.

“This is to allow the hospital to restock on these essential items.”

According to state-run Herald newspaper, clinical director George Vera said the hospital was relying on payments made by patients as it was not receiving funds from the government.

“Our hospital caters for the poorest of the poor, three quarters of whom cannot afford to pay the user fees,” he said.

The government revealed recently that it spends almost 97 per cent of its revenue on salaries.

Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar and South African rand in 2009 after inflation, which peaked at 500 billion per cent rendered the local dollar unusable.

But Zimbabwe has run short of US dollar notes, forcing banks to limit cash withdrawals.

The government has also failed to pay its workers on time.

President Mugabe, 92, has vowed to end the wave of anti-government protests that have shaken his regime this year.

Mugabe has faced stiff protests in recent times and opposition is getting fiercer in the face of bad economic situation.

He has refused to relinquish power after more than 30 years in office.

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