Beitbridge rural health centres have raised a red flag over the continued shortage of essential drugs.

Essential drugs are an everyday requirement.

In the village where most of the country’s elderly reside, the need is even more pronounced. Chronic sicknesses such as hypertension, diabetes and many others require periodic treatment.

While familiarising with the state of health in areas such as Majini, Chamnangana and Tongwe recently, Beitbridge West legislator, Cde Ruth Maboyi was told sad stories of a dire situation.

The elderly are not getting the drugs and they do not have the money to buy from pharmacies.

The result is no matter how many times the clinic staff tell them the drugs are not in stock, they keep coming back hoping the next visit will be different.

It is a worse off situation for expecting mothers, who have no shelter and where it is available like at Majini clinic, there is no bedding.

“I came about 80 kilometres away from here to deliver, but some drugs are not available and there is no bedding. So we sleep on the floor,” said one expecting mother.

Cde Maboyi said she will lobby the country’s health authorities through the legislature on the dire situation.

“While there are no drugs, it is worrying that in all clinics, the challenges are the same. It is not good especially for our elders who need treatment for chronic illnesses,” she said.

Zimbabwe’s maternal death rate currently stands at 614 per 100 000 live births, according to the 2014 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) statistics.

Meanwhile, chronic diseases are the major cause of death and disability worldwide.

In the World Health Organisation (WHO) region for Africa, chronic diseases are projected to account for 23% of all deaths.