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Zimbabwe's second-biggest hospital suspends routine surgery after critical shortage of drugs

President Robert Mugabe's government faces a cash shortage that has fuelled street protests, highlighting the country's worsening economic crisis. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Harare, Zimbabwe Sep 19, 2016, 11.33 AM (IST)
Zimbabwe’s second biggest state-run hospital has suspended routine surgery after running out of painkillers, local media reported on Monday.

Harare Central Hospital said it would focus only on emergencies, intensive care and maternity cases.

"Due to the critical shortage of pethidine, injectable morphine, adrenaline and antibiotics, it was decided that we suspend all elective surgeries," NewsDay quoted the head of anaesthetics Harunavamwe Chifamba as saying in a memo.

"This is to allow the hospital to restock on these essential items."

The state-run Herald newspaper quoted clinical director George Vera as saying the hospital was relying on payments made by patients as it was not receiving funds from the government.

"Our hospital caters for the poorest of the poor, three-quarters of whom cannot afford to pay the user fees," he said.

The government revealed recently that it spends almost 97 percent of its revenue on salaries.

President Robert Mugabe's government faces a cash shortage that has fuelled recent street protests and forced the treasury to print its own US dollar "bond notes" from next month.

In 2009, Zimbabwe stopped printing its currency, with currencies from other countries being used.

By the end of 2015, Zimbabwe completely switched to the United States dollar.

But Zimbabwe has run short of US dollar notes, forcing banks to limit cash withdrawals. The government has also failed to pay its workers on time.

(WION with inputs from AFP)
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