MPILO Central Hospital paediatric section is now ordering patients to bring their own thermometers and needles, as the institution is relying on only one thermometer to service children who seek treatment.
Following an exposé by Southern Eye that the hospital was operating with only one thermometer, a reader spoke about his harrowing ordeal when he was forced to drive around at night after the institution told him to buy his own medical equipment.
The reader said his daughter was admitted after her temperature soared and to his horror, he was told by the doctor to bring his own thermometer.
“The doctor told me to bring my own thermometer as they were in short supply and what shocked me is that my wife called at 10pm telling me that my daughter would not get her medication, as they did not have needles,” he said.
“I went all over town looking for a 24-hour pharmacy and was directed to the one in Nguboyenja where I bought those needles for $1 for five.
“It was at exactly midnight when I got them.”
The parent expressed concern over the negligence of the nurses at the hospital and asked people to take action.
“The nurses no longer have their patients at heart, they only come for the night shifts to sleep,” he said.
Recently, a parent who visited the hospital with her child for treatment said the hospital was operating with one thermometer and no action was being taken by authorities.
The parent said the institution should put its house in order as this compromised the health of patients.
“This is really shocking for such a big hospital like Mpilo to operate with one thermometer and this shows that maybe other wards are facing the same problem,” the parent said.
When contacted for comment Mpilo chief executive officer Lawrence Mantiziba said the problem was that thermometers wear and tear due to high temperatures.
“We have ordered some thermometers to replace the ones that have been affected,” he said.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, Ruth Labode, expressed bewilderment that the institution was operating without thermometers and needles.
“A thermometer costs less than $10,” she said.
“It is not possible for any hospital not to have them.”
Reports are that hospitals across the country are acutely underfinanced and have huge debts.
“The hospital needs at least $2 million annually,” Labode said.
“They got $500 000 in the 2015 budget.
“They have no budget to cut from.
“Mpilo owes suppliers over $4 million.
It is the largest hospital in southern Zimbabwe and receives patients from Bulawayo Metropolitan province, the Midlands, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Matabeleland South provinces.
Mpilo Central Hospital recently suspended surgical operations owing to a critical shortage of oxygen kits.