HealthTalk: Zim has potential to deliver quality health

Our Health minister Constantine Chiwenga was recently in Switzerland for the Global Patient Summit, with about 80 other ministers of health drawn from the globe.

The World Health Organisation believes that unsafe patient care is among the leading causes of both morbidity and mortality in the world.

Our Health minister Constantine Chiwenga was recently in Switzerland for the Global Patient Summit, with about 80 other ministers of health drawn from the globe.

The Montroux Charter on patient care was endorsed and the charter seeks to strengthen patient safety and thus eliminate preventable deaths in hospitals.

In the year 2007, the WHO came up with an analytical framework to describe health systems and the strength of a particular health delivery service depends on the integration of the building blocks which are health workforce, service delivery, information systems, medical products, financing and leadership.

The unavailability of one pillar of the building blocks surely leaves a shaky and unstable building that has potential to collapse.

Many people grapple about the quality of health service in the public sector in our country.

Some patients end up seeking medical care from outside the country and South Africa is one strong destination for many.

Zambia has played its part as well as Zimbabweans travel there to seek some special services like radiotherapy for cancer treatment.

Our public health institutions have been despised by many as they fail to stand to the expectations of the patients.

Our country trains some of the best healthcare workers in the world and has thus become a hunting ground for health personnel. Healthcare workers are leaving in droves for greener pastures.

The United Kingdom has benefited magnificently from the brain drain and between 2019 and September 2022, the number of Zimbabweans granted work visas to work in the UK went up by 1576% from 499 to 8363.

Economic meltdown is pin-pointed as the major push factor and if it remains unabated, there is a risk of further serious worker turnover in the near future.

Government should appreciate some simple things which can improve patient confidence at public health institutions.

Medical service accessibility is gradually becoming a taboo for many people as health facilities lack basic items or services that can be corrected easily with minimal political will.

Zimbabwe has great potential to spruce up its image medically if some of the following facilities and services are availed at hospitals:

Basic functioning X-rays and Ultrasound Scans in hospitals even at district levels. We have many hospitals where such facilities are a night mare yet it costs less than US$50 000 to put one X-ray machine.

One can get a good Ultrasound Scan for less than US$10 000. How come hospitals do not have such facilities yet they are required on a daily basis? Where are we going wron as a nation?

Computed Tomography Scans (CT scans) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans at referral centres.

Its quite disgusting to note that many people are forced to go for CT scans or MRI scans in private where they are charged exorbitant prices because our public institutions do not offer such.

Why are we ridiculing ourselves as a nation by merely not putting such facilities as CT scans which are needed on a daily basis?

At one time, Sally Mugabe had a working CT scan but without a permanent radiologist to interpret the scans. This is astounding to say the least.

Radiotherapy machines should be available. Cancer is treated through surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is applied in order to shrink the cancers and failure to access that may mean the cancer can grow with speed.

Our radiotherapy machines have suffered incessant breakdowns and many lives have been lost in the process.

Can the whole nation fail to establish many radiotherapy centers to serve as many patients as possible.

Provincial hospitals like Gweru, Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Marondera, Bindura should be having their own radiotherapy machines.

Many people are now flocking to Zambia's University Teaching Hospital (UTH) to access radiotherapy.

Availability of power back-ups at public hospitals. It is calamitous if there is a power outage at a health facility without a reliable back-up.

Imagine having patients on theatre tables, intensive care units, elevators and having sudden power cuts without a back-up.

Hospitals and clinics should have reliable stand-by generators or huge solar systems to sustain the entire facilities in times of power catastrophe.

Availabilities of simple sundries to use like gloves, syringes, needles, cannulae, bandages. Why are we shaming ourselves by not stocking such small items as a nation?

 Those who are calling the shots in administration offices should prove their mettle.

Zimbabwe has potential to deliver quality health.

Those who sleep on duty should be reminded that there should never be any more time for them.

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