The country’s biggest referral hospitals — Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Harare Central Hospital — faced biting water shortages over the weekend, exposing patients’ health to greater risk. It was reported that Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals had no water on Saturday, while Harare Central Hospital had limited supplies.
There are fears the capital could face the spectre of water-borne diseases if the water supply situation is not addressed urgently. Zimbabwe Medical Association (zima) secretary-general Dr Shingi Bopoto, told The Herald the water situation was under investigation.
“It is very worrisome and unhygienic to have water shortages at such big health institutions, especially when there is a cholera outbreak. However, currently I have not yet confirmed with the hospitals whether the water is now available or not.
“It is unsafe for a health setting to have water shortfalls, though I have not yet heard any reports of patients who were affected by this situation. With the cholera outbreak recently reported in the country, which affected some parts of the country, especially Chegutu, it is unhealthy and unhygienic for health sectors to spend even two hours without water. We hope that the situation will not be repeated,” said Dr Bopoto.
On Saturday, zima, using its Twitter handle @ZimMedicalAssoc, said: “Living dangerously! Our members report @PGHZIM (Parirenyatwa Hospital) has no running water & Harare hospital has limited supplies. There is a threatening cholera outbreak. . . prudent to have adequate backup for all hospitals.”
Parirenyatwa Hospital public relations officer Mr Linos Dhire denied that the hospital did not have water on Saturday.
“It is a lie that water was unavailable at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Saturday. The city had water challenges during the weekend, but Parirenyatwa was not affected by the unavailability of water in the city. We have a water reservoir which lasts for three days, and we did not suffer this water crisis that we are hearing of,” said Mr Dhire.
However, a doctor from one of the hospitals independently confirmed there was indeed a water crisis at the two hospitals on Saturday. He also advised the two health institutions to have alternative sources of water.
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa could not comment on the issue, saying there was need to confirm with the institutions if they actually experienced such problems.