$1.5m patients’ debt paralyses Gweru Gen Hospital

A debt overhang of about $1.5 million owed to Gweru General Hospital by patients is fast paralysing normal operations of the institution, a top official has said.

In an interview, Fabian Mashingaidze, the hospital’s medical superintend, said the debt has crippled operations of the institution to an extent where it is now finding it difficult to provide critical services to children and accident victims.

“We are owed over $1 million by patients who accessed our services with promises of settling their medical bills later on. The problem that has resulted from that is therefore that we are now finding it very difficult to re-tool things like medical supplies and other equipment.

“We have people like children and road traffic accident victims whom we receive and need to provide life-saving treatment to but due to inadequate funds arising from the debt, its proving to be a very big problem for us,” he said.

In a recent visit to the hospital, this reporter discovered that the hospital is also battling to provide food, warm clothing and bedding materials to patients at a time when the chilly winter season has just started. Admitted patients could be seen resorting to their own supplementary food-stuffs and blankets.

In separate interviews, the patients told The Zimbabwean that the situation is worsening their various conditions of illness.

“I came here from Lower Gweru after having been referred by my local clinic to get treatment of a communicable disease. On arrival I was then admitted but the problem is that we are subjected poor diet and lack of warm clothing. It’s a huge challenge that can worsen my condition,” said one patient.

Another one said the authorities insisted that admitted patients bring own blankets to the institution an occurrence that is making life difficult for those from far places like Gokwe, Mberengwa, Chirumanzu and Zvishavane.

Government has an obligation to fund public hospitals but the deepening economic crisis is severely affecting its ability to do so. The situation is now therefore restricting poor people’s access to health care because they cannot afford to seek services from private institutions.

Post published in: Health

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