Mpilo hospital suffering

The chronic shortage of drugs and doctors, combined with constant equipment breakdowns is causing serious problems at Mpilo Central Hospital.

Health workers told The Zimbabwean that about two–thirds of the functioning medical equipment was not regularly serviced as required by the manufacturers.

“Most breakdowns are due to overuse, carelessness, inadequate training of operators, lack of essential spare parts and obsolescence. The most affected breakdowns are X-ray machines, theatre equipment, ventilators, incubators and cardiographs,” said a junior doctor who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

The doctor said the hospital was also stuck with $1, 5 million debt, forcing some suppliers to stop delivering drugs.

“Patients who qualify for wholly subsided health services are now buying prescribed drugs from private pharmacies with their own money. Some patients cannot afford the medicine and they just simply throw away the prescription,” he said.

The central hospital has also been hit by water shortages which have been attributed to ageing water pipes. The hospital’s acting chief executive, Wedu Ndebele, confirmed the water woes.

“Our pipes have developed regular leaks due to old age. There is no water in some theatres, but we are still able to operate as we have many theatres,” said Ndebele.

Ndebele recently told the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare that the hospital had received only $1 million fromTreasury out of the $4, 4 million allocated in the national budget. The health centre requires about $12 million in order to meet its obligations.

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