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Zimbabwe House Panel Concludes Health Care System Has Collapsed

The chairman of the parliamentary committee on health said Thursday that conditions at Harare Hospital and at municipal health care centers in the capital are appalling - a reflection of his panel's finding that the national health system has collapsed.

Blessing Chebundo said his panel toured Harare Hospital, Beatrice Infectious Disease Hospital and a council clinic in Highfield this week to assess the impact of a strike by health care personnel at government and city council hospitals and clinics.

Municipal health workers in Harare went on strike April 13 over shortages of protective clothing. An employee at Beatrice Hospital said staff has returned, but that workers at clinics in Highfield, Warren Park, Kambuzuma and Mufakose are continuing a sit-in.

A Harare court ruled June 1 that the health care staff could pursue their sit-in until the institutions ensure that they are provided with the necessary protective clothing.

Chebundo, member of parliament for Kwekwe for the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the senate today considered a report on his panel’s findings which indicated that the health care system has collapsed.

The strike by nurses at Harare council hospitals has had a severe impact on patients, especially those on antiretroviral and tuberculosis drugs. Hundreds of patients milled around at Beatrice Hospital seeking care amid labor actions by nurses and staff.

Correspondent Safari Njema interviewed patients unattended at Beatrice Hospital.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...