A medical doctor at Chitungwiza Central Hospital is accused of attempting to extort US$350 from the parent of a girl who was one of the students hurt in a road traffic accident on Wednesday along the Harare-Masvingo Road, leading to disciplinary proceedings.
A Mazda T35 truck was struck on the driver’s door by a bus before it swerved off the road, killing at least five people—four of them students—and injuring 21 others.
The 22 students from Karrenboon Farm who were inside the truck were all thrown out.
Three of the learners passed away after being admitted to Beatrice Hospital, while one learner passed away immediately. The truck’s driver passed away from his wounds yesterday.
State media reports that of those that were injured, four of the learners were later transferred to Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
Yesterday, a delegation led by Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, visited the learners at the hospital where he handed over hampers that were donated by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona.
During the tour, Deputy Minister Mangwiro was then briefed about the incident in which the medical doctor, whose name is still being withheld, was caught after taking US$20 from a parent of one of the learners who is admitted at the hospital.
The girl sustained a broken jaw during the accident and it is alleged that the doctor then demanded US$350 as money to treat the victim and was given US$20.
The matter came to light after he was caught by senior officials at the hospital.
In an interview, Dr Mangwiro confirmed the developments.
“Fortunately, the CEO of the hospital managed to get on top of the situation,” he said.
“It happened that one of the kids who had a fracture of the jaw needed to have dental care and unfortunately the dentist ended up soliciting from the mother about US$350 illegally and pocketing the money.
“I think he had gotten a deposit of US$20 and he had asked the mother to bring the rest before the child could be treated. Fortunately, the CEO of the hospital was quite vicious and disciplinary measures are going to be taken.
“And we must say it’s not right for doctors or nurses or health care workers to do that to patients. I am sure the Minister of Health was saying the same thing in Bulawayo where the neurosurgeons were meeting, to say there are doctors and nurses who are soliciting for bribes for them to give attention to patients who have genuinely come to hospital.”
Dr Mangwiro said disciplinary action would be taken against such doctors and nurses.
He discouraged health care workers from practicing such activities.
Dr Mangwiro said Government was going to assist the families of the deceased and those who were admitted in hospitals.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe managing director Mr Munesu Munodawafa urged drivers to exercise caution when travelling on the roads to avoid loss of lives.
“I want to appeal to drivers of all vehicles that we really need to exercise caution on our roads,” he said. “Zimbabweans have been arguing that perhaps it’s the state of our roads, but this is one of the roads that is in the best conditions in Zimbabwe.”
“It meets all SADC standards, but the challenge we seem to have on the Harare-Beitbridge Road is that of speeding. Surely, I think we just need to think through the processes and do the rightful thing.
“Let’s observe speed limits. Let’s not overtake where it’s not relevant. Like in this case it appears like he (the bus driver) tried to overtake when somebody was turning to the right. Overtaking traffic in between, which is not allowed in terms of statutes.”
In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the fatal road traffic accident occurred at the 81 kilometre peg along the Harare-Masvingo Road on Wednesday around 4pm.
“An Inter Africa Zhongtong bus travelling towards Masvingo with 59 passengers on board hit the driver’s door of a T35 truck travelling in the same direction whilst carrying 22 pupils, resulting in the T35 truck veering off the road to the right,” he said.
“All pupils were thrown out of the truck and subsequently one pupil died on the spot whilst three others died upon admission at Beatrice Hospital.”
Police have since released the names of the four learners who died and they are Prince Jowo (six), Nyarai Sabao (11), Aaron Muriva (10) and Esteri Ruwo (six) all of Nebo Farm in Beatrice.