In a tragic turn of events, Dr. Mthabisi Nembaware, a dedicated medical professional serving in the rural hospital of Hauna, Zimbabwe, lost his life in a road traffic accident on his way to Mutare. The incident has sparked outrage among the medical community and the public, highlighting the dire state of Zimbabwe’s healthcare system.
Dr. Nembaware was a passenger in a car that suffered a burst tyre, resulting in a severe accident. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and was initially stabilized at Mutare Hospital. However, due to the lack of a functional Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and an efficient city-to-city ambulance system at the hospital, he was scheduled to be transferred to Harare for specialized medical care.
Despite the state’s claims of having an operational helicopter ambulance, it failed to airlift Dr. Nembaware to Harare. His family managed to raise US$5,000 for a private air ambulance service. Regrettably, the air ambulance could not take off due to non-functional landing lights at Mutare airport. Dr. Nembaware tragically succumbed to his injuries around 11 pm.
This incident has once again brought Zimbabwe’s healthcare crisis into sharp focus. The country’s healthcare system is in dire straits, with policy failures, inadequate funding, and lack of essential services being key issues. Despite being the largest provider of healthcare services in Zimbabwe, the public health system has been severely affected by economic decline and political instability.
The tragic loss of Dr. Nembaware has stirred up public sentiment and anger. His death is seen as an unnecessary statistic in a series of failures by a collapsed healthcare service. Renowned Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono expressed his outrage at the incident, stating that “Our country has adequate resources for a functional healthcare system, but the public funds are ruthlessly looted to the detriment of the whole nation” .
Chin’ono further criticized the government for its misplaced priorities, highlighting that “Millions are spent annually on luxury cars for Zimbabwe’s political elite instead of investing in fixing critical public services like healthcare” .
The tragic death of Dr. Mthabisi Nembaware is not just a loss for his family but also for the nation that he served with dedication. It serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive healthcare reform in Zimbabwe.