BY REX MPHISA
BEITBRIDGE District Hospital has been hit by mass resignations of nurses, most of them leaving for greener pastures in the United Kingdom.
At least 25 nurses left Beitbridge for the UK this year alone.
Besides staff shortage, the hospital is also experiencing an acute shortage of water and electricity cuts.
District medical officer Linos Samhere yesterday confirmed that water and electricity cuts had affected service delivery.
He said the hospital was experiencing staff challenges after some of the workers were infected with the COVID-19 virus.
As a result, Samhere said they were moving male, female and paediatric patients into one ward.
“Apart from the theatre, we cannot operate without water, and we have tried to keep all services available,” Samhere told Southern Eye.
“The theatre requires huge amounts of water by its very nature. However, the staff would not risk working in the theatre with inadequate water,” he said.
Samhere said the hospital opened a COVID-19 special ward where critically-ill people are admitted.
He said to prevent further infections, the hospital had introduced mandatory testing for COVID-19 on people visiting the institution.
“That is why we have had to put all admitted patients under one ward so that the limited staff can be able to properly monitor them,” he said.
The power cuts are said to have affected oxygen administration. The hospital is using a generator whose fuel expenses were said to be unsustainable.
Samhere said the hospital had to make-do with the few nurses after the mass exodus.
The hospital caters for 120 000 people in the border town and those in transit.
It is also in charge of the 140-bed quarantine and COVID-19 screening centre housed at what used to be the Rainbow Hotel.
Town clerk Loud Ramagkapola said government departments owed the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) $20 million out of the $205 million total debt.
The Municipality of Beitbridge and Zinwa are locked in a legal battle over the figure.
But legal experts said cutting water supply was illegal since the issue was still before the courts.
“We closed their water supplies over the undisputed $65 million they owe us. We have a dispute with them over certain amounts,” Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga told Southern Eye.