BULAWAYO residents have refused to back down on their quest to have 24-hour service delivery at local clinics, saying primary healthcare was a right that they should access at any time.
BY TALENT GUMPO
This came after residents again petitioned the local authority demanding 24-hour clinics.
Speaking at an ideas forum hosted by the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) in Bulawayo this week, Khumbulani Maphosa of the 24/7 clinics campaign, said residents still insisted that measures could be put in place to provide funds to ensure that the service was provided.
“One of council’s reasons for dismissing our petition was that council clinics only offer primary health care, whilst secondary is the duty of central hospitals. We are not changing the mandate of clinics, we want primary healthcare at any time of the day because one can fall sick at any time,” he said.
Maphosa said city fathers argued that there was no money to effectively deliver the service as one of their reasons, saying that adjustments and provisions could be made to gather funds for the clinics.
“Each ward has a 3% retention fund; let us think about adding one percentage that will be directed to the clinics.
“There is no need for a full complement of nursing staff to operate a clinic at night because it would not be busy, we can only treat emergencies at night while those seeking antiretroviral drugs can and immunisation for children are not emergencies and can be dealt with during the day,” he said.
He said residents could also contribute towards the clinics’ operations.
“We met six council managers this week and we gave them our financing model. There are many ways in which we can get finance, there are development patners who can assist, council can also engage residents and charge them 30 cents more on their monthly bills, we would raise the money,” he said.
“Mortuaries operate round the clock, so do prisons, bars close at 11pm, but a facility that is supposed to look after people’s lives closes at 3:30pm.”
Responding on behalf of council, councillor Silas Chigora said the local authority was behind the vision of delivering the service, saying they were willing to further engagements with residents.
“We must sit down and come up with strategies on how we will run the service because of the costs and other logistical challenges that we may face,” he said.
He urged residents to foot the costs of delivering such a service, saying they were the ones who will pay for it.