The country’s public health delivery system was ranked among the best in Sub-Saharan Africa not so long ago but the continuous shortage of medicines is now compromising health service delivery, especially for patients with chronic conditions.

The principle that health is a basic and a fundamental right can never be overemphasized, and various interventions by the government to ensure adequate supplies of medicines at public hospitals are not yielding the anticipated results.

Patients are being referred from one hospital to another and most often, patients are having to buy medicines from private pharmacies.

Those with chronic conditions who require medication on a daily basis are the most affected.

The situation is not peculiar to the big cities only.

Mr Helken Ncube from Midlands Province, Mr Matshonisa Ncube from Bulilima, Matabeleland South and Mrs Getrude Muchengwa from Buhera, Manicaland are all community health workers who were in Harare for a meeting.

The trio painted a gloomy picture of the situation in areas where they come from.

Despite improvements in availability of state of the art equipment in theatres and other departments in most government hospitals, the shortage of medicines is having a negative impact on patient care and public health.