Masvingo Hospital upgrade key for GZU Medical School

Masvingo Hospital

A HEALTH workforce is among the six building blocks of a solid health delivery system in a country alongside financing, governance, service delivery, information technologies and medicines, according to the World Health Organisation.

Zimbabwe has trained highly-knowledgeable medical personnel that continue to be hunted down by many developed countries of the world.

The last few years have seen at least 5 000 nurses migrating to greener pastures with doctors, physiotherapists and pharmacists also following suit. The level of brain drain will be catastrophic if it remains unabated.

The bottom line is that medical personnel is disgruntled because of uncompetitive remuneration, inadequate intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, lack of job development opportunities and the general toxic economic environment.

The Midlands province has been blessed with the establishment of a state-of-the-art Gweru Provincial Hospital under the headship of Fabian Mashingaidze.

Indeed, Gweru Hospital is now a full-fledged teaching hospital for medical students and it has also been accredited by regional training bodies like College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa, College of Anaesthesiologists of East, Central and Southern Africa and so far three specialists have graduated.

The same hospital is credited for performing the first Total Hip Replacement at provincial level on top of performing the first Caesarean section on a COVID-19 pregnant woman during the dreaded phases of the pandemic.

The astute leadership shown by Mashingaidze should be applauded by all progressive citizens as he and his team have demonstrated the importance of teamwork, innovation culture and patriotism.

Zimbabwe was known to be a highly literate country in the world with a literacy rate of more than 90%. The country has trained thousands of doctors since the first medical school was established in 1963 as an affiliate of the University of Birmingham.

 Today, the country boasts 4 medical schools, the latest edition being Simon Mazorodze School of Medical and Health Sciences in Masvingo under Great Zimbabwe University (GZU). The medical school was officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in October 2022 and had its first intake in March 2023.

This is all good news for Masvingo and special appreciation should go to the medical and academic dean Jacob Mufunda. Mufunda has played a very significant role in the health delivery system of this country as many doctors have passed through his hands as students.

 The man has traversed virtually all the medical schools in Zimbabwe. He was at University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and now the first dean of medicine at GZU Simon Mazorodze School of Medical and Health Sciences.

Masvingo Provincial Hospital, like Gweru Provincial Hospital, is a teaching hospital for Simon Mazorodze School of Medical and Health Sciences.

What should now be prioritised is the upgrading and revamping of the hospital in a bid to accommodate as many specialists as possible who will include physicians, general surgeons, urologists, neurosurgeons, anesthetists, cardiothoracic surgeons, gynaecologists, ENT surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, dentists.

All these specialty areas will be part and parcel of the student training. It is thus prudent that work be commenced at the hospital as a matter of urgency as students are now left with one year to start clinical teaching at the hospital.

The upgrading of Masvingo General Hospital will be sweet news not only for medical students but also for Masvingo province as a whole. Medical services that used to be sought in major cities will now be decentralised to Masvingo.

That alone is a milestone that will save many lives.

Many surgical operations can be done at the general hospital, making it very efficient in terms of service delivery. Health and development are symbiotic in nature and it is undeniable that development occurs when there is sound health.

Training of more doctors will help in reducing the doctor-patient ratio which stands at more than 1: 7 000 in our country.

Let us all unite for the good of Masvingo. The medical school surely needs our support. The lecturers are working flat out to deliver the best to the prospective doctors.

  • Johannes Marisa is a medical practitioner who is the current president of the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe

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