Karanda Mission Hospital in Mt Darwin is now besieged with patients from almost all over Zimbabwe.
Such is the crowding that patients are even sleeping in corridors waiting for various services ranging from observation, treatment and prescriptions.
Said Andrigu Phiri who had traveled all the way from Harare to access medical services:
“My brother has clogged urethra. He was supposed to have his catheter removed at Parirenyatwa Hospital but since the doctors went on strile, this has not been possible.
“We had to bring him here for fear that his catheter could become infected and that could mean more problems for us,” he said.
At the entrance to the Out Patient Department, you see children cuddled on their mother’s laps, several people on wheelchairs, some lying on the floors, eyes staring blank in the air. All these people bear the brunt of the collapse of the healthy system. The crisis at Karanda Hospital has been triggered by Doctors strike at government hospitals.
People are coming from as far as Gwanda, Mutare, and Gokwe…in fact all parts of the country seeking medical attention.
“Karanda Hospital is now the country referral hospital,” said one nurse who preferred anonymity.
“This is a very serious disaster. Patients are spending almost a week to get treated at Karanda Hospital. Doctors cannot cope and they are only two Doctors at the Out Patient Department.”
Karanda nurse in charge, Mr Chigumira is reportedly struggling with despair such that he sometimes skips lunch to help and serve the patients.
According to Amai Memory from Chegutu: “The first hurdle is to join the line to pay consultation fee which is very long; then you join the history line to go into the history room and the last greatest hurdle is to be seen by the Doctor.
“After seeing the Doctor, you join the line to pay drugs which is very long again.
Said Alexio Rashirai Rushinga: “Government must act quickly to solve this health crisis; otherwise very soon Karanda Hospital will be forced to turn away patients who are not from their catchment area that is Mashonaland Central.”