Zimbabwe’s incapacitated public health system is now forcing locals to cross the border into Zambia and South Africa to seek medical attention.
Mbire Ward 1 councillor Christmas Kachasu said that people from Mashonaland Central are seeking medical attention in Zambia due to the high cost of medical care in Zimbabwe as well as the long distances they have to travel to get to the nearest hospital. He was quoted by NewsDay as saying:
They (people) are crossing over to the Zambian side and this is because of the cost of medicines and consultation fees which are a bit lower compared to those charged in Zimbabwe.
The closest hospital we have is 140 kilometres away, and at the end of the day, people prefer to go to the other side of the border because it is about 12 kilometres to get to the waterfront and cross into Zambia and access the hospital.
Chief Muzarabani, born Alfonce Chuzu, said that medical drugs are expensive in Zimbabwe compared to Zambia and Mozambique thereby forcing people to cross the border for treatment. He said:
The challenge is drugs here in Zimbabwe are expensive and are not easily found. In Mozambique and Zambia, they have adequate medicines especially to cure rabies as most of the attacks here are from dogs and hyenas.
Recently, South African politician and medical doctor, Phophi Ramathuba, complained that Zimbabweans were burdening South Africa’s health delivery system and should seek treatment in their own country.
What did Ramathuba say?
She told an unnamed Zimbabwean patient who reportedly underwent surgery at Bela Bela Hospital in Limpopo Province that Zimbabweans were putting a huge strain on the Limpopo Health Department’s budget and were treating South Africa “like a charity”. Said Ramathuba in a viral video:
You’re supposed to be with Mnangagwa, he doesn’t give me money to operate you guys. Now I must operate you with my limited budget.
When you guys are sick, you decide to cross into Limpopo. That embassy in South Africa is a charity department, that’s what gets said.
The truth is painful: Limpopo has about 5.7 million people. Most of these citizens do not have medical aid. They rely on the state.
Instead of using my limited budget for what it is meant for, we’re here sorting out something Emerson Mnangagwa must do.
This is exactly why, when the people of Limpopo want access to health systems, they cannot get it. That is angering the community.
You guys aren’t even registered here, you are not counted, some are illegals. It’s unfair. I cannot go to Zimbabwe and get help.