PUMULA residents are pleading with government to scale up its social welfare services to reach the impoverished so they could access healthcare facilities.
The call comes after residents in the suburb witnessed an incident where an orphaned young man died after being reportedly rejected by Mpilo Central Hospital officials because he had no money to pay for consultation.
Residents expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of officials at Mpilo for rejecting patients who have no money and suggested that a social welfare programme be put in place to assist the underprivileged in the society.
A resident, Sibonginkosi Dube said she witnessed a case of failure to access medical services, which ended tragically.
“One of my neighbours went to Mpilo to seek medical attention, but he was sent back home because he had no money to pay for consultation and was told there was no treatment for him if he didn’t have money.
“The fact he didn’t have the money, he stayed home until the disease got the better of him and eventually died,” said Dube.
She said this is a cause for concern because such people exist in societies and should be taken care of.
“This is painful to us, the young man was an orphan and unemployed, even the money for transport to go to hospital came from residents but we could not help much for further treatment, does this mean that only rich people have the right to life? ” Dube said.
Another resident, Lydia Ndlovu suggested that people who need urgent medical attention should be treated first then payment plans be discussed later.
“If there are social welfare programs, treatment can be made first then payments discussed later with the social welfare organizations to avoid avoidable deaths,” said Ndlovu.
She referred to the Constitution citing that the government has a mandate to care of its people as they are guaranteed rights on health.
“Our constitution in Zimbabwe says we have a right to life so we feel everyone should have a right to life whether you are rich or poor,” said Ndlovu.
Some residents alluded to some countries, which provide such facilities such as the neighboring South Africa
“In South Africa people are being treated for free but here in Zimbabwe we have to pay even though everyone knows that the current economic situation is difficult for everyone,” said another resident Farai Nyoni.
Nyoni added that Zimbabwe should do likewise especially considering the current economic situation.
“Look at countries such as South Africa where the economy is not as bad as Zimbabwe’s they provide such services but here in Zimbabwe where current unemployment rates are enormous there are no such facilities,” Nyoni remarked.
Zimbabwe is party to legally binding treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights among other treaties that observe the right to health.