Patients held hostage

patientMARONDERA - Patients who failed to clear hospital bills after treatment at the provincial hospital, were held hostage in confinement until they paid part of the charges.

The detentions mainly affected women admitted at the maternity department. We are crammed in a small room and sleep on the floor like convicts. We are not provided with beds. Even when beds are vacant in the maternity ward next door, we are made to sleep on the floor, said a woman detained for two weeks. Visitors at the hospital have since named the room Mbare section as it houses poor people.

It is an administrative measure to ensure that discharged patients at least pay something towards treatment received at the hospital. The affected women have since devised ways of escaping from detention without being noticed, said a nursing sister at the hospital. Residents have labelled the detentions cruel and inhumane. This is tantamount to punishing helpless babies and poor women. The government must fund the ministry of social welfare to enable it to cater for the poor in such

circumstances, said Sarah Matema, a teacher in the town.

The hospitals Medical Superintendent, Dr Jerbes Majok, could not be reached for comment.

Post published in: Analysis

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