Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Zimbabwe's Hospital System 'Beyond Help'
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 8-1-2007 | Sebastien Berger

Posted on 08/01/2007 6:21:40 PM PDT by blam

Zimbabwe's hospital system 'beyond help'

By Sebastien Berger
Last Updated: 1:44am BST 02/08/2007

A young girl had to have her leg amputated because no antibiotics were available to treat her wounds

The public hospitals of Zimbabwe, once a model for Africa, have become waiting rooms for death.

A doctor at one of the country's five central hospitals - the biggest and supposedly best equipped health care centres in the country - laid bare the desperate state of the system.

"Patients are dying of things like dehydration - in a hospital," he said.

Neither the doctor nor his institution can be identified for fear of reprisals. During the interview, held in the back seat of a car, he looked around to check for observers at least a dozen times.

"We no longer have a system. Now it's beyond any form of help," he said, citing the example of a young girl admitted after a falling rock crushed her thigh and broke her shin.

"I couldn't clean the wound except with tap water. She needed surgery but there were no anaesthetic drugs.

"After three days we could operate but by that time gangrene had set in. We had no antibiotics and ended up amputating her leg. She is a 10-year-old girl." He shook his head sadly.

He listed some of the items his hospital has run out of: penicillin, insulin, painkillers, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, plaster, X-ray film, sterile gloves, surgical blades and intravenous fluids.

"Most of the staff have left. Some emergencies like appendicitis are no longer emergencies. We have got to the stage where with any condition not deemed life threatening, we are not operating," he said.

Patients have to wait for hours to see a doctor and must buy all their own medical supplies. If they cannot pay they cannot be treated, he said, pointing out that the first litre of intravenous fluids and a set of equipment to administer it costs Z$1.5million - half a civil servant's monthly salary.

"Every ward round you do you record 'patient is severely dehydrated, patient needs fluids, patient can't afford fluids'. You are literally watching patients die in your hands of correctable illnesses."

With President Robert Mugabe's government unable to import supplies because of the collapsing Zimbabwean dollar, the doctor has learned not to respond to the desperate pleas of the sick and their relatives. "I tell them, 'My hands are tied, I can't do anything for you'.

"This is how I am now. It hardens the heart, it annihilates hope, it obliterates the whole purpose of coming to work. You can't easily forgive yourself."

The doctor has just received a 540 per cent pay rise, to Z$9 million a month, about £30 at black market exchange rates and not enough to live on. "I can't remember the last time I bought myself an item from a clothing shop," he said. "Almost everyone tries to do something to get the extra dollar."

One of his colleagues has resorted to making bootleg CDs, while others use the hospital's internet access to look for a job abroad, most commonly in South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.

The doctor's description is a graphic confirmation of a United Nations report last month, which pointed out shortages of essential drugs and intravenous fluids.

Stella Allberry, health spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said: "This government wants to pretend everything is wonderful. They are hiding their dead, they are hiding their ill and they are hiding the fact that nothing works.

"People are letting their families die at home rather than trying the hospitals. In our country you are an old man if you are 55."

The average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now 37 for men and 34 for women.

Mothers, she added, had told her: "I just want my children to be a bit bigger, then I can die. No one dreams further than that."

Officials from Zimbabwe's ministry of health and child welfare could not be reached for comment.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: collapse; hospital; zimbabwe

1 posted on 08/01/2007 6:21:42 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Clive

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 08/01/2007 6:25:45 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

I think that I am going to sick up.


3 posted on 08/01/2007 6:27:18 PM PDT by patton (Get the H$LL off of my ROOF!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Why doesn’t Michael Moore go over there to document this horror?/s


4 posted on 08/01/2007 6:27:36 PM PDT by Frank_2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

It will be interesting to see how the left will blame George Bush for Zimbabwe’s utter failure. And you can bet that Mugabe has all the fluids he needs.


5 posted on 08/01/2007 6:28:15 PM PDT by Bullish ( Reality is the best cure for delusion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Image hosted by Photobucket.com africawinsagain...
6 posted on 08/01/2007 6:29:17 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

The UN will tell you it was sooooo much worse when the white men ruled it. Once the breadbasket of Africa, the people are now starving because if Mugabe’s thievery and the people like him who are raping the country to enrich themselves.


7 posted on 08/01/2007 6:31:35 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants
You are right.

Rhodesia was once a great country.
The creation currently occupying that geographic area has reverted to type.

How anyone is surprised at the current state of affairs is well beyond me.

8 posted on 08/01/2007 6:36:19 PM PDT by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants

“She needed surgery but there were no anaesthetic drugs.”

“After three days we could operate but by that time gangrene had set in. We had no antibiotics and ended up amputating her leg. She is a 10-year-old girl.” He shook his head sadly.

TIME OUT!!!!

They couldn’t operate to save the leg because there were no anethetics but they could amputate the leg? What did they use for anesthetics?


9 posted on 08/01/2007 6:37:57 PM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (The Democrat Party: "Everyone is equal, but some are more equal then others.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants

Bingo! Another Jimmuh Carter achievement: he liberated Rhodesia from the rule of the vile racist white colonialist farmers but he forgot to invent a way for the local blacks to eat without the vile white colonialist farmers around to grow the food.

Well, on the bright side, Jimmuh saved the black Zimbabweans from the scourge of obesity - the Carter / Mugabe weight loss diet of grass stew and sucking on pebbles will take the fat off fast.

The quick solution for this problem is for the locals to overthrow Comrade Mugabe and get on their knees and beg the British Ambassador for the English colonialists to return to run the country again - then they would have food to eat.


10 posted on 08/01/2007 6:44:09 PM PDT by Howard Jarvis Admirer (i)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Howard Jarvis Admirer

Mugape is so much better than Ian Smith’s government. At least now, NEARLY everyone lives in torment.

Thanks Jimmah Carter and your boy Andy Young!!

Too bad Nicaragua escaped your plans.


11 posted on 08/01/2007 6:48:15 PM PDT by Comparative Advantage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: blam

While this is beyond horrible it is far more a problem that the UN was intended for. If they can’t find a way to divert Mugabe’s caviar money for the needs of the children under his governance I can’t see it being a U.S. responsibility.

Neither are the problems in Darfur.


12 posted on 08/01/2007 6:52:33 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
I remember the leftists singing their praises of "Zimbabwe!" (and "Fidelll!") back in the late 70s. Betcha they ain't singing that song any more -- anymore than they're admitting they were wrong, wrong, wrong.
13 posted on 08/01/2007 6:54:24 PM PDT by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NewRomeTacitus

The U.S. Government is largely responsible for Mugape being in office to begin with. A democratically elected leader was disposed because of Young and Carter’s actions.


14 posted on 08/01/2007 6:56:24 PM PDT by Comparative Advantage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Comparative Advantage

“I remember the leftists singing their praises of “Zimbabwe!” (and “Fidelll!”) back in the late 70s. Betcha they ain’t singing that song any more — anymore than they’re admitting they were wrong, wrong, wrong.”

I bet they do not admit they are wrong anymore than Carter does today. Also, I bet they still priase Mugape.


15 posted on 08/01/2007 6:58:32 PM PDT by Comparative Advantage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Comparative Advantage

“I remember the leftists singing their praises of “Zimbabwe!” (and “Fidelll!”) back in the late 70s. Betcha they ain’t singing that song any more — anymore than they’re admitting they were wrong, wrong, wrong.”

I bet they do not admit they are wrong anymore than Carter does today. Also, I bet they still praise Mugape.


16 posted on 08/01/2007 6:58:46 PM PDT by Comparative Advantage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Frank_2001
Why doesn’t Michael Moore go there and have bariatric surgery?
17 posted on 08/01/2007 7:02:18 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken (Seldom right but never in doubt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: blam

Zimbabwe 's Hospital System Beyond Help

There, I fixed the headline.

18 posted on 08/01/2007 7:10:28 PM PDT by twntaipan (Who needs jihad when you have the dhimmicrats?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EQAndyBuzz
What did they use for anesthetics?

Probably the classics - leather straps and a bullet to bite on.

19 posted on 08/01/2007 7:17:44 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Howard Jarvis Admirer
The quick solution for this problem is for the locals to overthrow Comrade Mugabe and get on their knees and beg the British Ambassador for the English colonialists to return to run the country again - then they would have food to eat.

Better a starving slave of a black master, than a nourished employee of a white businessman...

20 posted on 08/01/2007 7:34:04 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: blam

Imagine a whole country whose HMO is CIGNA.


21 posted on 08/01/2007 7:35:55 PM PDT by BlazingArizona
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: twntaipan
#18

Good editing.

5.56mm

22 posted on 08/01/2007 7:35:59 PM PDT by M Kehoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: EQAndyBuzz; DuncanWaring

Read more carefully. They couldn’t do the surgery because there were no anesthetics available. By the time anesthetics became available, gangrene had already set in so all they could do was amputate.


23 posted on 08/01/2007 7:40:48 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Comparative Advantage

Should we not learn from these escapades and remove the Administration’s abilities to intrude on a foreign government’s business when those actions have little to no impact on our nation? The current Congress did a good thing by denying furtherance of the Administration’s trade policy powers (NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.) but follies like this and Clinton’s BlackHawk foray into Somalia should never be seen again.

Seriously - we should have seen Bin Laden swinging from a rope long before Saddam Hussein did, yet that bastard seems to still be out there mocking our 90% Iraq/10% Afghanistan military policy.


24 posted on 08/01/2007 7:46:20 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: EQAndyBuzz

“They couldn’t operate to save the leg because there were no anesthetics but they could amputate the leg? What did they use for anesthetics?”

During the Civil War, they did always have anesthetics. The idea was to do it as quick as possible.


25 posted on 08/01/2007 7:51:24 PM PDT by Clay Moore ("My daddy says I'm this close to living in the yard." Ralph Wiggum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Clay Moore

“they did always”

Make that “they did not always.”


26 posted on 08/01/2007 7:54:16 PM PDT by Clay Moore ("My daddy says I'm this close to living in the yard." Ralph Wiggum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: twntaipan

Things that could help Zimbabwe, move the United Nations there it’s about to be refurbished anyway. I think the United Nations now is mostly staffed by third world people so they would fit right in. I would imagine there is plenty of office space available at a great rate. Oh yeah, and pass a law that the Kennedy clan has to go there for their medical needs. They keep their money out of the country off shore anyway. Oh yeah, Bill O’Reilly is a racially sensitive person (with very thin skin). Bill wouldn’t mind going over there and kicking in a few dollars to use their medical facilities.


27 posted on 08/01/2007 7:57:16 PM PDT by Plains Drifter (If guns kill people, wouldn't there be a lot of dead people at gun shows?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: bill1952
Rhodesia was once a great country. The creation currently occupying that geographic area has reverted to type.

There's an old phrase to describe it: "Africa Wins Again". Google it sometime

A nation is not a piece of geography. It's a set of people and the culture they share. For a time, parts of the Western nations tried to turn parts of Africa into places that resembled the West, but the Africans didn't buy into the concept

In the United States, we successfully transplanted part of the West onto new soil, but the means used to do so were too drastic to be repeated in Africa

Perhaps the Chinese will have the stomach for drastic measures if they decide to take over

29 posted on 08/02/2007 3:53:00 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor (Open Season rocks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymLJz3N8ayI)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Onelifetogive

Amen


30 posted on 08/02/2007 4:08:28 PM PDT by Plains Drifter (If guns kill people, wouldn't there be a lot of dead people at gun shows?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson