BULAWAYO East MP Tabitha Khumalo has lamented the poor state of the government-run United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) citing a poor diet served to patients, collapsing infrastructure and general lack of equipment.
Khumalo said the situation at UBH was so sad that patients took longer to recover. She said some babies in incubators died during a two-week blackout in February when she was admitted at the hospital.
But UBH chief executive officer Nonhlanhla Ndlovu yesterday dismissed as false Khumalo’s allegations on baby deaths during the blackout caused by an electrical fault.
“That is totally untrue. There was electricity at the maternity ward even during that period when there was an electrical fault,” Ndlovu said in a telephone interview.
Khumalo, who could not be reached for comment, told Parliament on Tuesday that the state of affairs at UBH was depressing.
“I had the opportunity (sic) of being sick Mr Speaker . . . I went to UBH, a government hospital.
“I was put in a private ward where there were no doors; the lights were not working; you could not close the windows; the curtains were hanging upside down; the beds, when you sleep half the time you must be careful when you jump off because it will follow you,” Khumalo is quoted in the parliamentary publication the Hansard as saying.
“As if ranga ririshura (it was a bad omen), electricity was cut off. I thought to myself that as an MP, we have our oversight role. I went to management and asked what the story was. They needed 150 millimetre core cable which is 600 metres that was burnt.
“I phoned Dr (Paul) Chimedza (Health deputy minister), I hope he is still here, and I said there was a problem here at UBH. We had an incubator where we had small babies and those babies died. I went into the theatre Mr Speaker, Sir, and when one goes into the theatre, they ought to be given a gown to wear. I had to use my own gown and I wore it inside out.
“The stretcher was screeching and you get to the theatre and find that the trolleys are not working and they are making so much noise,” Khumalo said.
However, Ndlovu also denied allegations that there are no gowns at the hospital’s theatre saying “it is not possible for patients to wear their own gowns”.
Khumalo went further to say that “the equipment to use for sewing dissolvable stitches is not there. I am sitting with stitches for those 21 days because the dissolvable stitches were not there. Now, you tell me, what on earth is happening? When one is sick, it is important to get a good diet so that you are able to come out of hospital; recover very fast and your wounds will heal, but it does not work that way. That is UBH for you,” Khumalo told her fellow parliamentarians.