Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Senior doctors who have been providing partial services and attending to emergency cases only since December have up-scaled their services to include other cases deemed as urgent.
This means, the doctors will be more visible than they were in recent months in terms of service provision in public health institutions.
In cases where required drugs and sundries would be unavailable, patients would be required to purchase whatever would be needed from private pharmacies.
However, complicated surgeries and other procedures requiring sophisticated equipment remain suspended until the said equipment is made available.
The latest development followed a meeting between the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) executive and its constituency on Monday from which they agreed to ‘upgrade’ emergency services.
The executive had initially met with acting President Constantino Chiwenga and he reportedly committed to deal with the challenges bedevilling the health sector from a ‘holistic approach’.
This holistic approach requires provision and consistent supply of medical drugs and sundries, equipment as well as better salaries for all health workers for a complete and functional healthcare system.
In recently months, Government through Natpharm (Pvt) Ltd and other partners have been re-stocking the national drug and sundries requirement, supplies of which are expected to continue trickling in the country, thereby improving the national stocks.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has also set up a technical committee mandated to coordinate the process of hospital equipment procurement.
In a statement released after Monday’s meeting, the SHDA said following their personal assessment on the state of hospitals’ equipment and national restocking exercise, they resolved to upscale the level of services they will be providing to patients seeking treatment from public health institutions.
“On 15 January 2020, the SHDA executive met the acting President, His Excellency Honourable CDGN Chiwenga and deliberated on the issues bedevilling the health delivery system of the nation. The acting President expressed his commitment to a holistic approach to handling the situation.
“In a meeting of the members of the SHDA on 20 January 2020, members agreed to upscale from only offering emergency services to include the urgent cases which could not be assisted all along based on the assessments done by their executive,” said the SHDA.
The SHDA however, expressed concern over the ‘lack of commitment from the Ministry of Health and Child Care’ in solving the current challenges.
It said their latest decision was also triggered by the need to ease suffering by patients, who have been failing to get assistance since last year.
The SHDA also expressed concern over implementation of the nurses’ flexible working hours, which they claimed was compromising patient care hence the need to only focus on ‘urgent and emergency’ cases to limit on admissions.
The nurses’ flexible working hours are a Government directive allowing nurses to work long hours thrice a week from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
The normal nursing shift starts from 7:00 am to 4: 00 pm for five days a week.
Patients interviewed from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday said they were hoping that the senior doctors would upscale their services to the level of helping all those in need of their attention.