Harare – The health sector has not been spared by the shortage of gas that has hit the country for the past four weeks, the Mail and Telegraph has learnt.
The massive gas shortage has affected major referral hospitals such as Harare Hospital and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
The shortage comes at a time when the country has been experiencing massive liquidity crisis that has affected foreign currency supply in key sectors such as the fuel and energy supply, wheat, health and the food processing sector.
RBZ statistics reveal that the country had a backlog of $600 million by September last year thereby affecting companies’ capacity to retool and also resulted in shortages of critical medicines as well as basic commodities.
Sources in the health sector said lack of foreign currency has also affected the supply of oxygen. Oxygen is widely used in every healthcare setting, with applications from resuscitation to inhalation therapy.
However in an interview, Harare Hospital CEO Nyasha Masuka said he has not received any reports about a shortage of oxygen.
“I have not received any reports about oxygen being in short supply at the hospital. If it was an issue it would have been brought up because we have long term contracts with BOC Gases,” Masuka said
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals public relations officer Linos Dhire said the hospital had no challenges with obtaining health gases.
“We currently have not had challenges with obtaining medical gases,” Dhire said.
However, inside sources reveal that the procurement department was having a headache in accessing gas.
This is not the first time that the country has experienced massive shortages, towards the end of 2008, annual inflation reached 231m% with the highest denomination of Zimbabwean Bearer cheque pegged at $100 trillion.
The hyper-inflation saw prices in shops change several times in a day and severe shortages of basic goods were experienced.
Authorities dumped the Zimbabwean dollar in January 2009, a four-year unity government, that ended in 2013 helped stabilise the economy.