Rural Matebeleland Records High Percent Of Defaulting Chronic Patients

Nompilo Mathuthu

More than 20 per cent of people suffering from chronic diseases in rural areas are defaulting on their medication due to high costs with Matabaleland North Province constituting the largest percentage of defaulters, a report has revealed.

The most prevalent chronic diseases are HIV, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and arthritis.

Statistics recently released in the 2021 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee show that of the 20 per cent, Matabeleland North Province constitutes nine percent.

” The main reasons for defaulting on medication were that it was too expensive (64.4 per cent ), not having the required currency to purchase (7.4%) and lack of transport to go and collect the drugs (6.3%) ” , reads the report.

According to the report, women constitute 67 per cent of chronically ill people. In urban areas, the report revealed that 24 percent of chronically ill patients defaulted on their medication with Bulawayo and Gweru provinces having the highest number of households with chronic ailments.

Medical Practitioner, Dr Samantha Ndlovu , said this development is likely to compromise the quality of health in rural communities and low income earning urbanites.

” The Covid-19 induced lockdown has seen many people losing their sources of income which makes it difficult to access medication whose prices are out of reach.

Recently, Information , Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister ,  Monica Mutsvangwa , while speaking in Cabinet, noted that government was looking into issues around chronic illnesses to assist those failing to access their life saving medications.

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