via Harare hospital stops new admissions | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell December 23, 2013
Harare Central Hospital has been forced to stop admitting any new patients, with authorities saying the facility is full to capacity.
The decision has seen scores of people, who would usually be admitted at the referral facility, receiving short term treatment in observation rooms before being set back home.
Hospital clinical director George Vera last week was quoted as saying that the hospital is “full to capacity,” adding: “We are unable to admit seriously ill patients who are thronging the hospital from all parts of the country since we do not turn patients away even if they do not have money.”
“The hospital has 1,200 beds inclusive of maternal, pediatric, psychiatric and medicinal patients’ beds. All these are occupied to the extent that we do not have room for casualties in the event of an accident this festive season,” Vera said.
He also explained that the major problem has been the country’s referral system, with Harare Central receiving patients from across Zimbabwe.
Precious Shumba, the Director of the Harare Residents Trust, said the situation was part of a larger failure by the authorities to prioritise health care in the country.
“It is unfortunate that government should only react during a crisis situation. They should have started reacting and intervening during the cholera crisis in 2008 and 2009. We are still waiting to see if there will be intervention from the Health Ministry, but it is difficult to anticipate that government will deal with the root causes of all the problems,” Shumba said.
He added: “We have not seen the kind of response where they seek to address the shortage of water at Harare hospital, where patients are told to bring their own water. We haven’t seen them address the working conditions of the staff, and the upgrading of the medical infrastructure.”
He described the situation as a “serious crisis,” that was “indicative of the larger crisis across the country.”
“This is a desperate situation, and it just creates further hopelessness among the citizenry,” Shumba added.