Chipinge health crisis: 2 doctors for 347 000 people

Minister of Health and Childcare Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga

Ellen Mlambo

CHIPINGE – The health crisis bedevilling Zimbabwe has hit rock bottom with just two doctors serving a population of 347 000 in Zimbabwe’s populous eastern district of Chipinge.

The situation was revealed during a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee hearing on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing also attended by Chipinge Times/Mirror in Chipinge four weeks ago.

The figures were released in the context of the district’s state of preparedness in the fight against Covid-19.
The Parliamentary Committee chaired by Miriam Chikukwa was told that the minimum staff compliment for doctors in Chipinge is six which means the district is operating with 30% of that number.

One doctor is taking care of the health needs of 173 500 people and this according to experts means that some people may never see a doctor in their lifetime or they will only see one when they are critically ill.

Google shows that in the UK, the average General Practitioner to patient ratio is 1: 2 000 which is 86 times smaller or just 1% of what a Zimbabwe doctor is supposed to see.

Mathias Mutonhore who was representing Chipinge District Medical Officer Brian Makumbe made the presentation. He said the understaffing situation had been like that for years.

Dr Makumbe later talked to Chipinge Times about the situation.
“There are two doctors and there is need for four more doctors. The number has always been like that,” said Makumbe.

Mutonhere said a blueprint on Covid requirements in the district was prepared by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and he added that the problem is that funding does not come from the Ministry.

“On paper we are prepared but on the ground we are not. We had two cases of Covid, one was managed at the hospital and the other one at home and we could do with the little resources we have. This however, is not enough
in case we have more cases,” said Mutonhore.

Marondera East MP Patrick Chidhakwa who is also a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee advised members responsible for the preparedness in fighting Covid 19 pandemic in Chipinge to prioritise issues to deal with the virus.

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