Sick hospital fails patients

BY NETSAI MLILO
VICTORIA FALLS - Relatives of patients in Victoria Falls Hospital are worried about the unhygienic conditions under which patients are being kept. They fear their sick relatives will not be healed but are more likely to contract diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea while at the

institution.
Lindiwe Moyo has a brother-in-law suffering from meningitis and tuberculosis at the hospital. She said when he was admitted a week ago, he was lucky to be allocated a bed and received a single sheet and a blanket. The linen has not been changed since then.
“I tried to ask the hospital staff to allow me to take the linen away and wash it or bring our own from home. But they refused. They said it was not allowed, yet they also tell you there is no soap for laundry. My brother-in-law is vomiting and cannot go to the toilet so you can imagine the sight. He has now developed bedsores. We are seeing horrible things in there,” she said.
The hospital is also overcrowded. One resident who identified himself as Dube said he had seen about 50 patients in the male ward. The ward has 15 beds, so most of the patients sleep on the floor.
Patients are getting little medical care for the $2 000 a day they pay – the only drugs being prescribed free of charge are TB tablets and painkillers.
Patients have to buy their own medicines and consumables such as bandages, syringes and gloves from private pharmacies.
“For your patient to be treated you have to provide two pairs of gloves each week which you leave with the patient. If there are no gloves, the nurses wont touch the patient,” said Moyo.
A week ago, junior doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital in BUlawayo went on strike demanding better working conditions. Among other things, the doctors wanted government to provide basic medical equipment to enable them to work without putting their lives and those of patients at risk.
A nurse employed by Bulawayo City Council recently had her mother admitted into the institution. She said after a day, she requested that her mother be discharged into her care “because all she was receiving was a bed. We were buying everything from drips, syringes and gloves so I felt it was better to take care of her from home,” said the nurse. A similar situation prevails at government health facilities throughout the country. Most cannot afford private health care.

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