Hunger Stalks Gwanda Hospital Patients

Relatives with patients admitted at Gwanda hospital are being forced to bring food for their beloved ones amid revelations that the provincial referral health centre is constantly feeding the sick on  sadza and cabbage.
 A visit to the hospital by Radio VOP  bore testimony to the food shortages affecting the provincial referral centre as Radiovop witnessed relatives arriving with packed foodstuffs for some  patients.
‘My daughter is expecting and midwives have been advising us to bring own food supplies because here they are only giving them cabbage,’ said Sinenkosi Moyo from Spitzkop township.
“The situation is very bad especially for those whose relatives do not live locally as they have to do with what the hospital is offering.it reminds me of the 2008 situation when we had to bring virtually everything to hospital including linen.”
Patients on admission at the hospital confirmed that they are being subjected to cabbage on a daily basis and are now surviving on what they receive from relatives.
  “I have been admitted here for a week now and its only today that we are being given meat otherwise we are served on cabbages everyday and this is also
 affecting our heath as we cannot take medication on empty stomachs,” said a patient who cannot be named for ethical reasons.
  “We are supposed to have a balanced diet but this is not the case,had it not been that our relatives bring us food from home we would die of
 hunger,’ he said.
  Although hospital authorities referred questions to the health ministry in Harare, sources said due to the scarcity of food the hospital is now forced to admit only
 critically ill patients.
 The hospital is reportedly reeling under a cash crisis that has seen it failing strapped to fuel its generator during power cuts forcing patients to use own candles.
During a visit to the hospital last year, Health minister David Parirenyatwa condemned the hospital saying it was not suitable to be a referral centre as it lacked basic equipment and machinery.
Then, the minister promised that a new hospital would be build that would meet the required standards.
United Nations Children’s Education Fund special representative Reza Hossaini said his organization is worried about the country’s collapsing economy which has led to deteriorating social services including health.
Because of the tight fiscal space, up to 70% of social sector funding come from donors and more than 90% of the National Budget goes towards recurrent expenditure, with employment cost accounting 80% of that budget. This scenario is a source of concern to us. And as is the case everywhere, in times of constrained fiscal space when competition for resources is fierce, it is the social sectors that tend to be under-funded, and this is where our concern lies,” said Reza in a speech read om his behalf in Beitbridge at a workshop to disseminate results of the Multiple Indicator cluster Survey (MICS).