DOCTORS in private practice have appealed for government and corporate sector assistance in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) as they have been overwhelmed by patients turned away from public hospitals because of the ongoing strike by medical staff.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association interim president Johannes Marisa said they could no longer cope with the increasing number of patients flocking to private clinics.

“Private practice has equally been affected by issues pertaining to PPE and finances. So many surgeries and clinics have found the going very tough in terms of patient management as patients flock to private practice as public health institutions are dysfunctional at the moment,” he said.

Marisa added that the number of patients seeking private medical care had skyrocketed, culminating in shortages of PPE.

“It is unfortunate that with the unavailability of affordable and easy testing, many are going for long without being detected of COVID-19, making it a life-threatening risk on the part of the private practitioners who have lately assumed the number one position on the frontliners’ list,” he said.

“The scourge is really with us. We need all minds together. The corporate world can chip in, especially on provision of PPE to medical staff regardless of whether one is in private or public practice.”

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) secretary-general Norman Matara called on government to ensure the country has a functional public health system.

“Access to healthcare will be very difficult to the majority because the prices of private hospitals and doctors are too steep for the majority of Zimbabweans, so we need a functional public health system that is where the majority can afford.”

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