By Paidashe Mandivengerei
Senior public hospital doctors today (Wednesday) petitioned members of parliament to establish a hospital referral system which will ease pressure on doctors at central health institutions.
Addressing doctors gathered at Africa Unity Square after staging a march from Parirenyatwa, Senior Hospital Doctor’s Association (SHDA) Vice President, Dr Raphael Makota said even patients with minor illnesses were crowding at central hospitals instead of going to clinics.
If created, a normal referral system improves the country’s doctor to patient ratio.
Patients with chronic illnesses will be attended to at central hospitals like Mpilo, United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Harare Central and Parirenyatwa Hospital.
The petition handed over to the clerk of parliament, Kennedy Chokuda suggested that the government was dragging its feet yet the referral system could be created at no cost.
“An appeal has been made to the Ministry of Health to realign the referral system of the health care system so that it functions normally. Today the cost of care at a local clinic is higher than at a central hospital. Correcting this is an intervention where no money is needed at all from the treasury to get it operational and yet no action has been taken about it. As a result, patients crowd the central hospitals for minor illnesses that could have been dealt with at the clinic level. This has resulted in compromised care of critically ill patients. To date, nothing has been done about it.”