By NQOBANI NDLOVU/SHARON SIBINDI
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has insisted that it is not in a position to open 24-hour clinics despite residents’ calls for council-run health institutions to operate round the clock.
Proponents of the 24-hour clinics argue that this is in line with constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to primary health care.
Council health director Edwin Sibanda told Southern Eye during a tour of the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) project at Luveve Clinic that opening 24-
hour clinics was not possible, given the local authority’s staffing limitations.
“Well, we have heard this call for opening the clinics 24 hours. Our argument still stands that due to the staffing levels, we don’t think we can afford it,
and also the patient numbers and the profile of conditions that we are adhering to do not justify opening for 24 hours. Our mandate is primary health care,”
“And primary health care hardly ever requires a 24-hour clinic as it were, because secondary health care is the duty of central government. We have,
accordingly, allocated two pieces of land for district hospitals in the City of Bulawayo.”
He said Bulawayo and Harare municipalities were in a peculiar position, where both are metropolitan provinces without provincial or district hospitals run by the central government as happens in other provinces.
“So, that alone is an anomaly. The correct level cascade or referral cascade requires that our clinics refer to district hospitals and district hospitals to provincial hospitals. It is the provincial hospital only that should refer patients to central hospitals. In the case of Bulawayo, it is Mpilo and the United Bulawayo Hospitals,” Sibanda said.