Harare Hospital looks for partners

As government fails to release funds that had been promised, Harare Central Hospital has declared 2014 as a year of widening its financial base through private-public partnerships.

“Some partners who have already agreed to assist us rehabilitate our wards, radiotherapy, pharmacy, X-ray and staff accommodation,” said Clinical Director George Vera in an exclusive interview.

Up to November 2013 Treasury only managed to release $600,000 of the promised $2m, leaving the referral hospital to squeeze money for operations from defaulting clients.

“We are really a poor hospital as the majority of our patients come from the poverty stricken sectors of society. We need about $12m annually to treat our patients fully and maintain the hospital to healthy standards,” he said.

HCH’s catchment areas include the southern, western and eastern high density clinics, most rural district and provincial hospitals countrywide where the majority of the poor people live.

“The hospital has also been a victim of sensational reporting by the press and there is now bad perception out there and we find it very sad, as we do not have control over that as poor as we are,” he said. However, Vera admitted that “most members of our staff have a government attitude towards clients and regard poor people as if they do not matter”, and said “But Zimbabweans know their rights and are increasingly demanding them, so in 2014 we want to pour money towards training of our staff on customer care as well.”

Built in 1958 the hospital has 1,200 beds inclusive of maternal, paediatric, psychiatric and medicinal patient beds and a casualty department which receives hundreds of out-patients daily.

The Zimbabwean interviewed people at the hospital who said there was need for the hospital to prioritise improving customer care.

“The hospital must prioritise taking care of the patients and be nice to its clients as nurses are neglectful and indifferent. “My late brother who was admitted here a few weeks ago was beaten by a psychiatric patient in the hospital and sustained head injuries,” said Tendai Rabvu.

“It is surprising that we were charged over $450 for his two weeks stay in hospital after they diagnosed him of tuberculosis which is treated for free in Zimbabwe. They asked us to pay $40 for a scan which was never done and we were never reimbursed the money as he died the same day they referred him to Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital,” lamented Rabvu.

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