BY RICHARD MUPONDE
PLUMTREE District Hospital ran out of medical report cards last month and has not been offering medical examinations and or reports for victims of sexual abuse.
The one-stop centre deals with cases of sexual assaults and compiles medical reports for victims from Mangwe and Bulilima districts.
The situation has left over 50 victims of gender-based violence and sexual abuse, particularly rape victims failing to get justice as evidence would likely disappear before examination.
The medical reports are used as exhibits during trials.
Contacted for comment, Matabeleland South provincial medical officer, Rudo Chikodzore said although the one-stop centre was housed at the hospital, it was administered by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and she had not received a such report.
“I have not received the report. However, the one-stop centres that manage victims of sexual violence, yes, are housed in hospitals, but are managed under the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development,” Chikodzore said.
Efforts to get a comment from the provincial director in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development were fruitless.
However, a police source confirmed the issue and said they were stuck with victims of sexual assault as there was nowhere to take them for medical examination.
“We are having a challenge with compilation of medical reports. Plumtree Hospital no longer has medical reports. We are now stuck, nowhere to take victims of sexual violence to,” he said on condition of anonymity.
He said the dilemma was exacerbated by the fact that sexual offences were only dealt with by certified government doctors.
“We can’t take them to private medical practitioners without a court order. All the cases under investigation are dealt with by government doctors. As the situation stands, we are in a difficult situation,” he said
Plumtree District Hospital is the only health institution which does medical reports for sexual offences for victims from both Mangwe and Bulilima districts.
Some victims have to travel over 100km to be examined by the government doctor before attending courts.
The health institution is in Mangwe district as Bulilima has no referral district hospital.
Calls are getting louder for Ndolwane Hospital in Bulilima district to be upgraded to a district hospital to serve as a referral centre for the district’s over 30 clinics.