Victor Maphosa, Recently in Mutoko
Communities in Mutoko district have appealed for assistance in cash or materials to complete the construction of three clinics in their area which will shorten the distance that they walk to the nearest health service centre.
Some of the villagers are travelling as much as 30 km on foot to Mutoko District Hospital at Mutoko centre.
The completion of the three clinics, Gwaze in Mawanga ward, Gurure and Bondamakara in Mutoko East, whose construction started many years ago but have been stalled by lack of funds, will cut the distances considerably.
Construction of Gurure clinic in Nyamutsami ward for instance was started by a private organisation 15 years ago and although the buildings are complete the opening of the clinic has been stalled by lack of equipment and other facilities.
Gwaze clinic in the Mawanga ward is facing the same predicament, the community mobilised own resources to build the clinic four years ago and up to now lack of funding to furnish the clinic has delayed its opening.
Villagers in Mawanga ward who spoke to The Herald appealed to the Government to intervene.
These villagers walk for close to 30 kilometres to Mutoko Centre to access medical services.
Their predicament is further compounded by the fact that they live in mountainous areas where it is very difficult to access transport to and from the centre due to poor road network.
Mrs Merenia Karimazondo told The Herald that the community is suffering due to the absence of health facilities.
“We are appealing to the Government and well-wishers to assist us with resources to finish this clinic. The pregnant at times are forced to give birth at home, the area is a well-known for Malaria and most of the people have died due to lack of medication.
“I nearly lost my child earlier this year due to Malaria, and I had to carry him on my back for 30 kilometres to Mutoko Centre. Some have not been so lucky and have died along the way.”
She said they are usually charged US$20 to hire a vehicle to transport patients to Mutoko for medical attention, which is beyond their reach.
Mrs Chipo Shambare, Mawanga ward councillor weighed in and said they are now appealing to the Government for assistance.
She said villagers are suffering and there is need for urgent intervention
“The community mobilised resources for the construction of this clinic, four years ago, to reduce the burden of walking for long distance to get medication. They have done a lot as you have seen, but officials from the Ministry of Health said it’s not enough so we are appealing to well-wishers and the Government to help us with resources.”
She said there is need to build an additional house and toilets for nurses, patients’ waiting rooms and store rooms before the clinic to be opened.
Mutoko Rural District Council chief executive Mr Peter Sigauke vowed to mobilise funds and assistance to finish the establishment of rural clinics in his district.
“We are aware, as Mutoko RDC that these clinics need to be finished for the benefit of communities and right now we are in the process of mobilising funds and resources which will assist in their completion.
“It is a fact that these people walk for long distances to access medical services and we want that to come to end, that is why we are busy mobilising resources which will be channelled towards the completion of these clinics,” he said.