By Mutsa Makuvaza
THE clinic at the Parliament of Zimbabwe has for a long time been running without of basic medicines such as analgesic pain killers, leading to a complaint yesterday by one of the legislators who said the risk of a legislator dying there was high as the clinic had no medicines at all.
The Parliament clinic, officially opened in 1985, was set up as a response to an incident where a Member of Parliament collapsed in the Chamber during a Parliamentary session.
Apart from offering consultation and treatment to legislators and Parliament staff, the clinic also carries out medical examinations, feferrals to specialist doctors and hospitals, as well as vaccinations.
Speaking on a point of privilege, Hurungwe Central MP Doughty Ndiweni yesterday complained that even basic medicines such as magnesium trisilicate have been unavailable for a long time, putting the health of legislators at risk.
Magnesium trisilicate is used for relieving indigestion, flatulence, acid reflux and heartburn.
“I would understand if the shortage of drugs was of those chronic ailments. For a long time, we do not have simple drugs like MMT,” Ndiweni said.
“This morning I had a heart burn and there was nothing. The clinic does not have those simple drugs. I wish attention will be given to the clinic and the availability of such simple drugs.”
In June last year, former Home Affairs Deputy Minister and Zanu-PF MP Obedingwa Mguni collapsed and subsequently died after having been referred to a more equipped hospital by the Parliamentary clinic. He was suffering from diabetes.
His death led to an MDC Member of Parliament blaming the ill equipped Parliament clinic for the death of Mguni, saying had it been properly stocked, his life could have been saved.
“A Member of Parliament is someone one who is respectable. I was asking and it should be known what happened when Mguni started not feeling well in this House and his journey from the House to the clinic then to the hospital,” said MDC Alliance MP Willias Madzimure.
He added: “There are many of us and I think our clinic should be well resourced so that life is saved. I am not very happy about how we are treated when we are ill here at Parliament.
“When we are transported from here to the hospital, I think that there should be an investigation on the illness of Mguni and the time of his death to the time when he was ferried to the funeral parlour. Who was there with him? I think that it is not good that we should die like that.”
The clinic operates for the convenience of Members of Parliament and to handle emergency cases within the precincts of Parliament.
It was also meant to reduce disruption of business of the House due to absenteeism by Members seeking medical attention for minor ailments elsewhere. – Zimbabwe Voice ■