BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
THE iconic Chikombedzi Mission Hospital is in a sorry state, with no equipment for key facilities and is in financial dire straits, officials heard recently.
A tour of the hospital by Chiredzi South MP Kalisto Gwanetsa (Zanu PF ), Chiredzi Rural District Council chief executive Isaac Matsilele, the acting district medical officer David
Tarumbwa and other officials from various sectors exposed the hospital’s deplorable state.
According to Gwanetsa, the late Vice-Presidents Joshua Nkomo, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo were once treated at the referral centre in the 1970s while incarcerated at Gonakudzingwa.
“Gonakudzingwa is just 64km from this hospital and all nationalists were treated here whenever they were taken ill. This is the biggest referral hospital in Chiredzi. My heart bleeds to see it in such a state today,” Gwanetsa said.
Ruth Hlongwani, matron of the hospital, said the institution was grappling with various problems, including a lawsuit by the national power utility Zesa over a $120 000 energy bill.
“This hospital was established in the 1940s by Free Methodist Church. They, however, left the hospital to run on its own in the 1970s. It is a mission hospital in name only. Right now, it is struggling. Recently, we were dragged to court by Zesa for a $120 000 debt.
“Our mortuary has since broken down, so relatives are forced to collect bodies immediately after the death of their loved ones,” she said.
The hospital has resorted to hard water from boreholes, forcing hospital staff to hand-wash linen as some of its washing machines do not function properly with hard water.
Hospital administrator Enias Zava told the officials that the health institution was a referral centre for 17 clinics in Chiredzi, but does not have a qualified pharmacist and that its dispensary was empty.
“We have very old and battered vehicles, which are no longer reliable. Patients are leaving their hospital beds before they are discharged because of the poor diet,” Zava said.
“On the issue of Zesa, we are going to ask for a reprieve to allow us to make a payment plan, because we don’t have the money at the moment.”
Gwanetsa donated new tyres for the ambulance, while Matsilele donated his personal BP testing kit since the hospital did not have one.
In March, senior health practitioners at government-run institutions revealed that patients were dying owing to shortage of basic medical equipment, medicines and other accessories as conditions in public health institutions continue to deteriorate.