Only 2 clinics, 1 lab working in Harare

BY ITAI DZAMARA
HARARE - Only two out of 54 clinics and hospitals run by the City of Harare are fully functional.
The city, which requires about 15 ambulances, only has two or three working.
It was also established that Harare, which serves a population of about 1,5 million and has one of

the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world, only has one laboratory currently functional, at Beatrice Hospital, out of a total of 57 laboratories. The rest have become derelict and subject to massive looting.
The city only has two CD4 machines – vital for assessing immunity levels of the infected and determining ARVs prescription. The machines were donated by the Centre for Diseases Control and the city has failed to purchase its own despite collecting huge revenues monthly.
Investigations by The Zimbabwean revealed that most facilities have been left to collapse under the prevailing economic problems coupled with persistent politicking and bungling in the management of the city.
Only Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital and Wilkins Hospital in the capital are currently providing basic services – but they also suffer from acute shortages of drugs and equipment.
Consistent exodus of staff has left the city with only four doctors instead of 20. Two of the remaining doctors have expressed their desire to leave as well.
Freeman Chari, a medical practitioner who recently quit the beleagured council, said “I left recently because it doesn’t make sense to be working in an institution where not only do you get pathetic remuneration but also have to struggle with insufficient resources,” he said. “Indeed only two hospitals are fully functional, the rest are useless. The same applies to the other aspects of health delivery in the city.”
Visits to clinics run by the city in suburbs of Highfield, Mbare and Mabvuku showed that in some cases there weren’t nurses whilst in others there were only some part-time attendants, whose credentials as health personnel were seriously in doubt, according to sources in the council.
Highly-placed sources within the commission running the city revealed that proposals have been made for up to 20 of the clinics in Harare ‘s high density suburbs to be closed down because of failure to maintain basic services. Questions sent to the acting director of health services, Dr Prosper Chonzi had not been replied by the time of going to press.
Sources said there were investigations into the looting of laboratory equipment, which implicates top officials in the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission.
Former Mayor, Elias Mudzuri of the Movement for Democratic Change, who was ousted by the Zanu (PF) government blamed the crisis on government’s meddling in the operations of the city.

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