GOVERNMENT has warned politicians, activists and media practitioners against unwarranted visits to hospitals, adding that such action violates the rights of patients.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said Section 57 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution provides the right to privacy.
“There has been a recent increase in the number of political actors, activists and the media making unauthorised visits to hospitals under different guises and pretexts,” noted the ministry in the statement.
“These invasions of patients’ privacy are unwarranted and are unacceptable. When in hospitals, patients expect to have therapeutic encounters with doctors, nurses and other caregivers and not political actors leading media crews to record their most private and vulnerable moments…
“We urge all stakeholders including politicians and members of the media to respect the right of others to privacy as enshrined in Section 57 of our constitution,” reads part of the statement.
The Ministry called those intending to visit patients in hospitals to adhere to stipulated visiting times. Hospitals, the statement further reads, should not be used as venues for political grandstanding.
“Hospitals have stipulated visiting hours and limits the number of visitors to two at a time for the reason of controlling possible cross infections as well as compromising care and security of patients,” read the statement.
“Hospitals need to get authorisation from each and every patient before allowing strangers to have access to patients and their medical information.
“This is an international norm which Zimbabwe upholds. Hospitals are not and should not be used as a venue for rallies.”
This follows after MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and his entourage toured Parirenyatwa and Harare Hosptals to assess the dire situation at the country’s national referral hospitals last week. He saw despondent patients, demoralised medical staff without basic medical equipment and empty beds as hospitals are not admitting new patients while relatives are withdrawing detained inmates because of the parlous state of national health institutions.