$1.5m patients’ debt paralyses hospital

A debt of about $1.5 million owed to Gweru General Hospital by patients is paralysing the operations of the institution.

Fabian Mashingaidze, the medical superintendant, told The Zimbabwean this week the debt had crippled operations to an extent where the hospital can no longer 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 is that we are now finding it very difficult to re-tool things like medical supplies and other equipment.

“We have children and road traffic accident victims who need life-saving treatment, but due to inadequate funds, its proving to be a very big problem for us,” he said.

A recent visit to the hospital revealed that it 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.

Patients said the situation was worsening their illness. “I came here from Lower Gweru after having been referred by my local clinic to get treatment for a communicable disease. We are subjected to poor diet and lack of warm clothing. It’s a huge challenge that can worsen my condition,” said one patient.

Another said the authorities insisted that admitted patients bring their own blankets, 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 has severely affecting its ability to do so.

Post published in: Health

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