Health workers, patients call for more drugs

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter

Health workers from Chimanimani District are appealing for more supplies of medication for chronic-non communicable diseases, amid indications that demand was now exceeding supply since the devastating Cyclone Idai struck.

In separate interviews with The Herald, health workers from Chimanimani District Hospital and Muchadziya Clinic concurred that since the cyclone, cases of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and mental illnesses were on the increase.

They said some patients were suffering from chest pains and arthritis, whose prevalence is attributed to post-Cyclone Idai trauma.

A sister-in-charge at Chimanimani District Hospital Ms Tendai Masvaure said: “We have recorded an increase in the number of non-communicable diseases, especially among people who were caught up in the cyclone. Unfortunately, the supplies of medicines we are receiving is far less than the burden on the ground.”

Sister Masvaure said they have now resorted to giving patients with such conditions, especially high blood pressure, 10-day supplies of medication instead of one month supply.

Muchadziya Clinic nurse-in-charge, Mr Tatenda Zuze, said the situation was the same in his catchment area.

“An inquiry into some of the cases that were presented here showed that most people were worried about their future, thereby, triggering these non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure,” said Mr Zuze.

He said they were having challenges with medicine supplies for the diseases as demand was sky-rocketing.

Mr Oncemore Ndumiana of Ngangu township in Chimanimani, who is one of the many people affected by Cyclone Idai, said he never used to be a diabetes or high blood pressure patient.

He said since the cyclone, he has been diagnosed of both diseases.

Mr Ndumiana, who lost his 12 year-old son during the cyclone and had his wife and two other children injured, said the situation was devastating.

“It is really difficult to comprehend what transpired that night,” he said.

“My child was declared dead upon arrival at Chimanimani Clinic. However, they managed to resuscitate the other one who had fainted. The mother and the younger one were all badly injured.

“Initially, I thought it was only my family that was affected, until a number of other patients started coming in to the hospital.”

Manicaland provincial medical director Dr Patron Mafaune said most of the patients being treated of non-communicable diseases were getting medication from private pharmacies.

“While our health system is well resourced in terms of communicable diseases, in particular TB, HIV and Aids and Malaria, we also have serious challenges with non-communicable diseases such that patients are buying medicines from private pharmacies,” said Dr Mafaune.