Nurses down tools, fight for poor patients

HARARE – Scores of Chitungwiza Central Hospital nurses yesterday downed tools to demonstrate over the plight of patients who they said are paying the ultimate price for the hospital’s “outrageous want of money”.

The nurses, temporarily brought business to a halt at one of the country’s revered health institutions, bemoaning that patients who had no money were being left to die.

There was palpable anger among the demonstrators who spoke of a patient who recently lost his life as a result of the government hospital running out of oxygen.

Brandishing placards emblazoned “no to shortage of drugs”, “avail electricity in all departments”, “prioritise patients” and “no to corruption”, the nurses said “not everything that is happening at this hospital is being reported”.

“Accident victims are being left unattended until they have paid for the service. Patients are failing to access a high protein diet as their meals are dominated by sadza and cabbage.

“In the morning, there is only one slice of bread for each patient.

“The $0,20 cents being required of patients to purchase a syringe is beyond the reach of many.

“We made a vow to uphold lives but we are failing to do that,” said one nurse who demonstrated alongside others but declined to be named fearing reprisal.

Another interjected: “It did not start today. We have been petitioning our bosses for a long time but no action has been taken.

“We have recorded one death as we had no oxygen the whole day but continue to say ‘work with what you have’ but that is a betrayal to the profession.”

The nurses sang hoisting their placards before laying siege at the office of Chitungwiza Central Hospital chief executive officer Obadiah Moyo.

“We are turning away sick patients who don’t have money yet we are a government-run hospital.

“Our private laboratory costs are charging way above what other government institutions are charging.

“People can’t afford and they are sleeping in beds without any help,” said one nurse.

Another nurse further added that “we are being forced to hide some of the problems” at the health institution which had up to this time gained a good reputation as being one of the best State-run health institutions in Zimbabwe.

Efforts to get a comment from Moyo were fruitless as he was said to have been out of his office yesterday and was allegedly with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).

Mnangagwa was being installed as chancellor of the CUT where he was presiding over the institution’s graduation ceremony yesterday.

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