By Anna Chibamu
PATIENTS are dying at home after being turned away from public hospitals as both senior and some junior doctors remain on strike demanding improved salaries and working conditions.
Newzimbabwe.com visited two major referral hopsitals, Harare Central and Parirenyatwa at the weekend and saw desperate patients and relatives being advised to return home as no doctors were available to attend to them.
Junior doctors downed their tools last September and were joined by their senior colleagues in November.
A junior doctor at Harare Central Hospital who never joined the strike said the situation at the medical facility was worsening by day.
“Nothing has changed ever since doctors went on industrial action. A few junior doctors have returned to work but consultants are not yet back. These junior doctors are irrelevant without their seniors,” the doctor who asked not to be identified said.
“The government has ignored the doctors’s demands and as a result patients are dying daily.”
Tariro Mazenge from Dzivarasekwa blamed the government for failure to offer doctors decent salaries resulting in the crippling strike.
“I witnessed my father-in-law passing on at this hospital (Harare Hospital). I hired a taxi for USD15 but he was turned away. Nurses advised me that only emergency cases were being attended to and he died on my lap,” Mazenge told Newzimbabwe.com.
Another said a friend’s father died at home in Glen View after being turned away several times at Harare Central Hospital.
The situation seemed to be worse at Parirenyatwa Hospital which is now partially closed.
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights Treasurer, Norman Matara said patients at the hospital were being turned away because junior doctors reporting for work could not check on patients without the supervision of senior doctors.