Zimbabwe: Staff Eating Food Meant for Patients - Chitungwiza Hospital Resorts to Threats

Chitungwiza hospital (file photo).

Authorities at Chitungwiza hospital have had to issue a warning to staff after food meant for patients started disappearing.

According to an internal memo Friday to Ward management, heads of departments and all staff members, the hospital said it would discipline staff seen "eating food meant for patients."

"It has come to management's attention that some hospital staff members are consuming food intended for in-patients.

"Please note that such practice is highly inimical to ethical standards of proper patient management and must stop with immediate effect," wrote Washington Machiridza, Chitungwiza Hospital director of operations.

"All members of staff caught abusing patient food will attract stringent disciplinary procedures with potential job losses. Please take this instruction seriously."

The memo comes after relatives of hospitalised patients raised alarm with management over the disappearance of foodstuffs from bedside patients' cabins on a daily basis.

As the economic meltdown continues, nurses and some staff members at various hospitals have devised methods to supplement their miserable salaries.

At one public health institution, nurses and staff members were said to be selling repacked overnight mahewu and uncertified frozen water to patients.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZNA) president Enoch Dongo pleaded with government to review nurses salaries and living conditions as the situation has now become unbearable.

"Our salaries need to be reviewed. It doesn't match the increases in the prices of basic commodities. It's now very difficult to survive after salary increment was handed by government, the money has already been eroded by inflation," Dongo said.

"We are now worse than what we were before increment. So we are calling to urgently review our living and working conditions as this has become unstainable. Nurses are the ones who run the institutions, even after the doctors would have left to attend to other businesses, nurses are always there."

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