A doctors’ strike in Zimbabwe has crippled a health system that was already in intensive care from neglect. It mirrors the state of affairs in a country that was full of promise a year ago with the departure of longtime leader Robert Mugabe but now faces economic collapse.
Doctors describe grim conditions: Bare-handed surgeries. Plastic bread bags used to collect patients’ urine. Broken-down machines.
Zimbabwe’s health sector, once considered one of the best in Africa, is on its knees.
The new president’s promises of change have turned out to be empty.
“Affordable quality health care guaranteed,” read campaign billboards for President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year. Six months after he narrowly won the disputed vote, the health sector has widespread shortages of basic medicines such as painkillers and contraceptives.