THOUSANDS of patients in Government medical institutions continue waiting in agony for doctors, as the strike by medical professionals enters its 25th day today.
Yesterday, scores of patients – some in visible agony – waited for service at Harare’s major health centres.
In contrast, some junior doctors lounged at their State-provided residences, drinking alcohol, braaing meat and listening to music.
Not far from them, Ms Farisayi Chakonza of Kuwadzana struggled to walk as she left Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals untreated.
“I had come for a review today after being diagnosed with cervical cancer three months ago,” said Ms Chakonza (42).
“But today, the nurses advised me to come back in June because there are no doctors.
“I am not even sure if am going to survive until then.
“My legs are swollen and I have not eaten in days because of the pain.”
Lying on a stretcher at the out-patients department was Sekuru Nyabinde from Headlands, who also came for a review but was not attended to.
“My father is on tuberculosis treatment and from our last visit they suspect that he has prostate cancer,” said his daughter, Mrs Emily Nyakusara.
“We had come for review and test results, but like most people we have been asked to reschedule our appointment.”
In Manicaland, Samuel Kadungure reports an almost complete shutdown at Mutare Provincial Hospital where doctors are attending only to emergencies related to road traffic accidents and maternal health.
The situation was better at district hospitals where doctors sometimes attended to patients.
George Maponga, reporting from Masvingo, said junior doctors were attending to patients at Masvingo General Hospital, albeit at a slow pace, though some with non-life threatening situations were turned away.
A few doctors yesterday manned the district hospital.
Our Reporter in Mashonaland West, Walter Nyamukondiwa said the strike had virtually crippled all medical services at Government hospitals.
Senior doctors at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital were yesterday covering for their juniors, and most patients were discharged.
On a positive note, The Sunday Mail’s Midlands correspondent Munyaradzi Musiiwa said the strike had not affected operations at Gweru General Hospital.
Doctors were said to be on normal duties and attending to patients.
However, in Bulawayo where the strike started, doctors remained defiant vowing not to resume duty until their demands were met.
Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa said treasury was in a dilemma over the doctors’ demands.
“Finance is saying that if we heed the call by doctors and increase their salaries and allowances, we should remember that there are other repercussions that could follow,” Dr Parirenyatwa told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health last week
“However, we are telling (doctors) that let’s put health as a priority and that’s where the crunch is.
“Do we then consider the issue of on call allowances and risk a scenario whereby doctors return to work and nurses go on strike.”
Dr Parirenyatwa urged the doctors to return to duty as Government works on a win-win plan.
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