Outreach a boon for the sick in Mat South

The partnership, running under the Health Resilience Fund (HRF), has seen villagers receive free medical care closer to their homes.

A Child and Health Care ministry outreach programme conducted with partners such as the United Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) is changing lives in Matabeleland South by providing primary healthcare services closer to the people.

Villagers in Gwanda and Umzingwane districts  are forced to walk several kilometres to access primary health care services because of lack of clinics.

The partnership, running under the Health Resilience Fund (HRF), has seen villagers receive free medical care closer to their homes.

The HRF is a coordinated effort by the government and its development partners who support the Health and Child Care ministry’s efforts towards attaining universal health coverage for Zimbabweans.

It is a coordinated fund led by the ministry with financial support from the European Union, the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and technical support from UNFPA, Unicef, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Under the programme, villagers access maternal health, sexual reproductive health, vaccination and mobile X-ray services.

A beneficiary of the programme, Rosemary Ngazwi from Zhube West in Gwanda, gave a thumbs up to the initiative.

“This programme has made it easy for us because we are getting almost every medication we need without any payment,” Ngazwi said.

She said the community is in need of more accessible healthcare facilities as the closest health centre to her home was 15 kilometres away.

“An elderly person or physically challenged person can’t walk for 15km,” she said.

Another beneficiary, an elderly man Nqobani Moyo from Nkwidzi in Gwanda, said they were forced to forgo seeking medical attention because of long distances.

“Some patients get sick and die at home because of the distance and again the hospitals don’t have medication,” he said.

“We are happy to see the doctors coming to us. Our wish is to have more clinics in the area and with medication and nurses.”

Another beneficiary, Nomathemba Ngulube, from Nswazi in Umzingwane said the cost of transport from her ward to the nearest health facility was a huge burden to poor villagers.

“Traveling to the hospitals or clinics is costly as one needs 120 rand to travel to the nearest health centre,” she said.

“This has resulted in some pregnant mothers giving birth at home.

“We want such initiatives and also we are requesting for clinics to be built closer to its people.”

 A village health worker in Sezhube West in Gwanda, Siphephisile Nkomo, bemoaned the distance she had to walk to the nearest Silikiwe clinic to save lives.

“It's 35 Km from where I stay and it takes me over two hours to get there,” she said.

“We need a clinic in Ward 2 and Ward 4 because we face a lot of challenges looking at the situations we face during our visits in communities.”

Matabeleland South provincial nursing officer Joyce Sibanda echoed the same sentiments.

“These outreaches are done monthly or quarterly depending on the support for the activity,” she said.

The HRF which began in 2022 will run till 2025.

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