Gweru shuts down clinic

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GWERU City Council has closed Mkoba 1 Clinic to the general public to accommodate patients housed at the local authority’s Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), a senior council official has said.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Mayor Josiah Makombe said IDH was undergoing renovations so that it would be used as a COVID-19 isolation centre.

He said dedication of the clinic to infectious disease patients would ensure residents safety.

“We closed Mkoba 1 Clinic to the public to admit patients who were at the IDH,” Makombe said.

“The council’s IDH is currently undergoing refurbishment as it will be used as an isolation centre for COVID-19 suspected cases.

“The temporary closure of the clinic to the public is to ensure people are not exposed to infectious diseases since we have admitted patients (with infectious diseases) at the clinic.”

The closure has affected hundreds of residents in some sections of Mkoba who relied on the facility for primary healthcare.

Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe castigated council for shutting down the clinic, saying it would most affect patients who require life-saving drugs.

“This is not fair at all as the closure of that clinic will bring a lot of challenges, particularly to people who were receiving their antiretroviral drugs at Mkoba 1 Clinic,” he said.

“Moreover bringing patients with infectious diseases to our populated suburb is even more dangerous.”

Selipiwe said council should have widely consulted before making that decision.

Makombe said residents should use other council clinics in Mkoba and other suburbs as well as government health institutions in the city.

Concern has been raised over government prioritisation of COVID-19 while primary healthcare suffers.

Women have borne the brunt of the pandemic as some fail to access antenatal care and immunisation services.