Statistics show that chronic diseases such as caner and diabetes are on the rise in developing nations. A number of these nations are still battling infectious diseases such as HIV. Having to deal with both infectious and chronic diseases puts even more pressure on health systems that are already struggling to cope. Zimbabwe’s brain drain of medical professionals has further compounded this situation due to the shortage of nurses, doctors and specialists.
The increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases has lead to the need for more specialists such as oncologists for cancer management. In the case of diabetics, there may be a need for them to have access to a team of specialists that may include an endocrinologist, nutritionist, eye doctor and cardiologist. Not all of these specialists will be at the publics’ disposal and if they are, there is a limited choice as to whom someone can visit about a particular condition.
This may lead to a predicament where lets say for example there is only one or two specialist in a particular field in the whole of Harare. This for a number of reasons is not a good situation for those seeking medical attention. Doctors don’t always get it right and patients may be in a situation where they are not showing any signs of progress. With the limited choice of medical care, patients become reliant on one person for their disease management. Under normal conditions, if someone is not showing signs of progress, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion. With not being able to do that and living with a condition that is progressively deteriorating, a point will eventually and unnecessarily be reached where nothing can be done.
Just like everywhere else in the world, specialist visits come at a cost and you would hope that you are getting the best care possible. If after repeated visits and interventions and it is plain to see that a patient is not showing signs of progress you would hope the specialist would suggest other options. One feasible option is seeking medical attention outside of Zimbabwe with a good option being neighbouring South Africa.
Some people in Zimbabwe have the means of making their way to South Africa to explore treatment options. Due to various circumstances such as the logistics of booking the necessary appointments, the prospect of travelling abroad seems like a very daunting task.
Every life is worth living and you only have one life to live. Whether or not you or they (doctors) may not like to admit it, there is only so much treatment you can get in Zimbabwe. If you, a family member or a friend are in a situation where it seems as if all hope has been lost and treatment options abroad have not been explored, then do what it takes to make it happen. It may not be too late!