Belinda Moyo, Sunday News Reporter
RESIDENTS in Umzingwane in Matabeleland South are appealing to the Government to prioritise health in the 2019 national budget, as many districts in the country do not have modern health facilities.
Speaking during a Parliament Portfolio Committee budget meeting for Health and Child Care held last Wednesday, Umzingwane Rural District Council chief executive officer Mr Ndumiso Mpofu expressed concern over the abandonment of plans to build a hospital with modern equipment in the district.
“We are pleased that the Parliament is here today and is going to take priority on our concerns of the hospital and health issues. We need a proper hospital, the one that is there was built in 1925 and most of the equipment is dysfunctional.
“We do not have a hospital at all, what is there is just a sign indicating Esigodini Hospital and a vehicle written ambulance because it cannot be compared to hospitals found in any other districts. So as Umzingwane we hope that this budget meeting will consider our concerns and prioritise them because for the country to develop there has to be a functional health system so that money meant for other developmental projects will not be diverted to the health sector,” he said.
Residents said they were concerned because there was no ambulance to service the area.
“We are emphasising on the issue of an ambulance, you see an ambulance is a replica of a hospital and should be able to save life, but the one we have is just a vehicle written ambulance,” said a resident who identified himself as Mr Ncube.
In an interview, Umzingwane acting District Medical Officer Dr Simbarashe Sanyamandwe said the health institution was facing many challenges especially in maternity.
“We have about 16 clinics in the district but they are not proper clinics as we renovated some old farm houses and we using them to deliver services especially in resettlement areas, so the Government does not recognise those hence there are no nurses which becomes a challenge to waiting mothers.
“In terms of what we are dealing with, we are taking an approach that is emphasising on Antenatal Clinic Care where we are insisting on identifying high risk cases of patients that need specialised care. So we are sending those that need specialised care to the United Bulawayo Hospitals which is our referral centre. We have not yet had a maternal death case in terms of statistics since the beginning of the year. We are not doing Caesarian operations because our theatre is malfunctioning,” he said.
Dr Sanyamandwe said although a theatre was needed in the short time, in the long run there is a need to construct a new hospital.
“In terms of prioritisation in the short term we need a theatre but the focal point that will solve our problem is a new hospital. Even in terms of staff motivation people are motivated when they are working in an environment where everything seems to be moving. We are spending part of our budget in renovating and trying to make the place habitable but what we actually need is a new hospital that will help in meeting all our challenges in terms of service delivery.
“The Government is very much aware of our plight and has been assisting us in getting land we need for the construction of a hospital which we acquired five years back. What is lacking now are funds towards the construction of the hospital,” he said.
Portfolio acting chairman Cde Dingilizwe Tshuma promised to pressure the Ministry of Health and Child Care to look into the matter.
“What we picked from the views of the people is that there is a dire need of a hospital. We heard that doctors do not stay long at the hospital and that a new site for the hospital has been long identified and visited by the ministry officials but nothing has been done. As the committee we will lobby in the Ministry of Health and Child Care and that of Finance and Economic Development to look into the concerns,” he said.