'That's why Mugabe family go to Singapore': Harare hospital runs out of drugs

2016-09-19 15:33
President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. (File: AFP

President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. (File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - It's a sign of just how bad things have got for Zimbabweans: one of the capital's two main hospitals has run out of drugs and can no longer perform scheduled operations.

A leaked internal memo signed by an anaesthetist from Harare Central Hospital says that the decision has been taken "due to a critical shortage of drugs" including antibiotics, sodium bicarbonate and commonly-used pain relievers like morphine.

Doctors will now concentrate exclusively on maternity cases, intensive care and emergency theatre, says the document which was written on Friday.

The news has caused outrage among Zimbabwe's many critics of President Robert Mugabe, who regularly travels for medical care to Singapore. His only daughter Bona gave birth to her first child outside the country earlier this year.

The privately-owned Newsday said the lives of thousands of patients were now at risk.

In an editorial, the paper said: "While the government will be quick to blame the current economic situation on so-called sanctions, for many this is a clear case of misplaced priorities by the government and failure by Mugabe's administration."

Cost of surgery 

Echoing the tone of many comments on social media, one Twitter user said: "That's why Mugabe family go to Singapore/Malaysia for treatment, they can't stand these shortages they [themselves] cause." 

There are private clinics in Harare where operations can still be performed: Zimbabwe activist Sylvanos Mudzvova was due to go for surgery in one such clinic on Monday following his alleged torture last week, he confirmed on Facebook. 

But the cost of surgery at these clinics is well out of the reach of many in cash-strapped Zimbabwe. A caesarean section at an upmarket clinic in central Harare can cost at least 2 000 US, locals say. Some mission-run hospitals in the rural areas are also better-stocked with drugs. 

Three years after Mugabe, now 92, was re-elected to power, Zimbabwe is fast slipping back into economic and political crisis. At the height of the 2000-8 crisis, some hospitals and pharmacies could not provide even basic painkillers and in rural clinics, women gave birth by candlelight. 

A cholera epidemic in late 2008 left 4 000 dead.

Zimbabwe's health minister David Parirenyatwa has not tweeted since last year. To her credit, his daughter, media personality Ruvenheko Parirenyatwa responded to a Twitter request Sunday for confirmation of the dire state of affairs at Harare Central Hospital with this: "Comrade, I'm his child, but not his spokesperson so how about we ask him here? cc @DrDParirenyatwa please advise."

The minister has not yet replied.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  singapore  |  health  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.