Missing doctor grinds hospitals to halt

Zimbabwe

Leroy Dzenga

Since the disappearance of Dr Peter Magombeyi last week under unclear circumstances, doctors in public hospitals have not been performing their duties.

This has left hundreds of patients in a desperate situation.

It appears no one has a clue where the doctor is, with Government suspecting that a third force is involved.

On Tuesday, Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Kazembe Kazembe, told a post-cabinet media briefing that Government is concerned about Dr Magombeyi’s disappearance.

“Government, once again, appeals to all those with information that can assist in establishing the whereabouts of Dr Magombeyi to alert the police as a matter of extreme urgency. Furthermore, Government is concerned over these occurrences, which of late, tend to occur at a time when important international events are scheduled to take place.

We wish to assure the nation that Government is deeply concerned with this threat to the safety of its citizens and is determined to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book,” said Minister Kazembe.

As the police try to locate the missing doctor, his colleagues in the medical profession say they will only return to work when he is found. However, this is inconveniencing scores of patients in dire need of medical assistance.

ZTN visited Parirenyatwa Hospital and most of the wards were empty, as patients were being turned back by the hospital authorities.

Sixty-nine-year old Betty Marembo from Kwekwe said she is in pain.

“I came here to get injections for my feet which hurt and I was told to go back since there are no doctors. I am just sitting here, maybe they will change their minds. I am hurting,” she said wincing in pain.

A relative of an injured patient told ZTN that they were considering approaching private institutions as the doctors continue with their job action.

“Our friend was involved in an accident in Ruwa and we brought him here. He was bandaged and they told us to check for doctors later.”

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) says its members will not report for work until Dr Magombeyi returns.

Addressing a news conference in Harare on Thursday, ZHDA Acting Secretary, Dr Tawanda Zvakada, said:

“We are not deriving any pleasure from all this. What we want is for dignified working conditions and for Dr Magombeyi to be found. Whoever abducted him should bring him back to us and his family.”

The medical fraternity and government have appealed for information regarding his whereabouts to assist police with their investigations.

But as the impasse drags on, hospital wards have turned into halls of pain with patients feeling the brunt of the job action by doctors.