Masvingo Provincial, the biggest referral hospital serving 1,7 million people in the province has been running without oxygen for some time now  and  gasping patients don’t survive, The Mirror has been told.
A source said lucky patients with relatives among nurses and doctors have oxygen cylinders brought for them from private surgeries and returned immediately after resuscitation.
Oxygen at Masvingo Provincial is only found in the theatre, added the source.
In addition, the institution is facing a myriad of problems including critical food shortages. Recently patients went for three days getting just one meal a day.
“The hospital ran out of meal-mealie and sugar and patients could not get their 5am porridge, 10am tea and 12pm sadza. They just got one meal at 4pm which was sadza and matumbu. The situation is hell for patients particularly those who don’t have relatives who visit them,” said a medical practitioner who declined to be named.
The source also said that the hospital is no longer providing bread to patients. They have tea without milk or bread, said the source.
As a result vendors are now moving right into the wards selling maputi, chimodho (home-made bread), roasted groundnuts and boiled maize cobs
“No one has the energy to bar these vendors from the wards because if we do, patients will starve to death,” said the practitioner.
The hospital also no longer provides ambulances for patients referred to bigger hospitals. The patients have to organise themselves and raise money to buy fuel for an ambulance.
There is no water at the hospital and relatives are bringing water to bath patients. The situation means patients can go for days without water. There is also no power at the hospital.
The hospital has no film for X-ray and doctors have to scrutinise X-ray pictures from the computer.
“This means that X-rays are only taken when there is power and the doctors can only read them when the computers are on and it means patients are having to wait week-on-ends to get X-rays taken and read by the doctors,” said the source.