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Bare-handed surgeries as Zimbabwe's health system collapses

(Associated Press) A doctors’ strike in Zimbabwe has crippled a health system that was already in intensive care from neglect. It mirrors the state of affairs in a country that was full of promise a year ago with the departure of longtime leader Robert Mugabe but now faces economic collapse.

Doctors describe grim conditions: Bare-handed surgeries. Plastic bread bags used to collect patients’ urine. Broken-down machines. Zimbabwe’s health sector, once considered one of the best in Africa, is on its knees.

“It’s so sad. The hospitals are empty, the patients are being turned away to die somewhere else,” said Prince Butau, treasurer of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, which represents about 1 000 doctors who anchor government hospitals.