BY SILISIWE MABALEKA
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) clinics have been hard hit by a shortage of drugs and residents have appealed to the government to finance the procurement of medicines to ensure access to primary healthcare.
This emerged during a residents meeting held at Mpopoma Hall at the weekend. The meeting was organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA).
Residents complained of poor service at the municipal clinic, including a shortage of drugs and medicines. They are forced to turn to private pharmacies where medication is priced beyond the reach of many and in foreign currency.
MDC Alliance Mpopoma-Pelandaba legislator Charles Moyo called on Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to increase the health budget to ensure access to primary healthcare services.
“Ncube refused to make an increment on funds designated to the Health ministry and this has affected clinics that are always out of stock of important drugs. Therefore, the government should revise the budget and reconsider health matters,” he said.
Ncube’s allocated $117,7 billion to the Health ministry in the 2022 budget statement, about 12% of the $927,3 billion planned expenditure for next year.
Mpopoma resident Angellister Ndlovu said the situation in clinics was desperate.
“What is happening in local clinics and hospitals is painful. We only go there to pay consultation fees and get prescriptions only since there are no medicines. We cannot afford to buy at pharmacies,” she said.
Another resident Nomzamo Gwebu said: “The only drug available at the clinic is Paracetamol. We cannot continue going to clinics to pay consultation fees and get prescriptions.”
BCC health services director Edwin Sibanda admitted that council clinics often run out of medication.
“We occasionally run out of medication depending on the type of drugs and at times we have to buy medication elsewhere,” he said.
Meanwhile, BPRA chairperson Ambrose Sibindi expressed concern at the spike in burglary cases and other crimes in the suburb.