CITY fathers are being blamed for the congestion and long periods HIV-positive patients spend at Bulawayo City Council (BCC) clinics, forcing health personnel to refer patients to private doctors.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The latest council report of the health, housing and education committee shows that BCC clinics battle staff shortages, a situation mostly affecting HIV+ patients.
As a result, the health directorate is now directing some of its patients to private doctors for dispensation of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.
“Debate ensued and councillor Monica Lubimbi was concerned about staff shortages which contributed to long queues in clinics. In response, the director of health services [Edwin Sibanda] confirmed that his department was operating on skeleton staff, hence, poor service delivery.
“He also explained that HIV+ patients had been grouped into batches so that they do not queue for too long. In order to ease congestion at clinics patients have been advised to visit registered private practitioners for free ARVs, though a consultation fee would be required,” the report read in part.
“The list of the private practitioners who have been authorised by the Health ministry to distribute ARVs would be availed to councillors.”
According to the report, Bulawayo clinics have 50 514 patients on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), with 421 having being initiated in April, six less from the previous month. Twenty-five died in April compared to 18 in March bringing to a total of 5 155 cumulative deaths to date.
Meanwhile, city fathers have approved a request by its finance and development committee to seek borrowing powers from the Local Government ministry for over $100 million for waterworks, roads and to construct early childhood development blocks, two primary schools, clinic and fire station.
City fathers were initially seeking $50 065 000.