At times many of us are guilty of accusing our public servants of not working hard enough but after what I have learnt over the last few months, I am beginning to appreciate them more. Did you know that our hospitals are so understaffed that sometimes one qualified doctor assisted by a team of junior doctors can be on call for two days without relief? Did you also know that a ward can have thirty plus patients and only 2 qualified nurses to take care of all of them at night? Ask any doctor and they will tell you that contrary to popular belief, nurses actually run the hospitals, they are the backbone of every hospital.
In Zimbabwe, we train nurses for three years, and then after that we tell them there are no vacancies, meanwhile public hospital are hugely understaffed. Truth be told, some of them really do love their jobs because what they get paid isn’t worth all that work. One nurse said that sometimes they admit people and when it is time to discharge them, the person may not have money, so they contribute a dollar each on the ward to ensure the person can get home because the social welfare system isn’t operative. Now that’s compassion and dedication if you ask me!
Government hospital ward – Zimbabwe
I also note that police officers are trained for 6 months and immediately posted at some station. My speculation is that we may have more police officers per capita in Zimbabwe than any country with a population of our size. If not, it may just seem that way because of the numbers we see doing nothing, standing at street corners. No disrespect, but have you ever called the police at night and they tell you they do not have any cars available? Have you ever witnessed a police officer openly solicit a bribe or take one from someone? I know I have.
Better yet we have all seen what they are capable of: look at how they beat a man to death in Shamva for allegedly stealing a dollar. You only need to walk in Harare to see all the smashed windscreens of commuter omnibuses, this is not because of accidents or vandals but the work of the police who deliberately smash the windscreens, for reasons best known to themselves. Is this why we need so many police officers? In some countries the police serve and protect. A good police force is one that ensures that the law is applied without prejudice. This isn’t the case in Zimbabwe, political affiliation and financial status can influence the outcome of any case. We have also heard from the Minister of Finance that the spot fines are not going into treasury, where is the money going? To pay for more police officers? So we are all wondering why we have so many police officers and why we have such a dysfunctional police force?
Where do sick police officers go? Is it not to the same under staffed hospitals that we have? Bridget Mugabe, the President’s sister has been on life support for almost two years now is at Parirenyatwa State Hospital. We all get sick at some point in our lives and we need to have assurance that when that happens you will be able to be attended to in a hospital that is functional with the necessary personnel! When the President is sick he flies out to get medical treatment. The majority of us do not have that luxury so please stop recruiting police officers and start filling our hospitals with the adequate medical personnel. Our lives depend on it!