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Free medical outreach in Matebeleland South

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2024 at 05:05hrs | Views
HUNDREDS of people in several villages in Matebeleland South benefitted from free medical outreach programmes being conducted in the province as part of the implementation of the Government's Health Resilience Fund (HRF).

Villagers from areas in Gwanda had access to HIV, sexual reproductive health, vaccination, mobile X-rays, outpatient departments and eye care services, conducted at different central points close to their homes.

Doctors and nurses drawn from the Ministry of Health and Child Care and its partners were part of the programme.

The Health Resilience Fund is a coordinated effort by Government and development partners, supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care in attaining universal health coverage for Zimbabweans.

It is a coordinated pooled fund led by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with financial contributions from the European Union, Gavi, Ireland, with technical support from UNFPA, Unicef and the World Health Organisation.

Programmes under the HRF are implemented through Government ministries and aligned with the National Development Strategy.

Interventions of the fund, which runs from 2022 to 2025 emphasise increased availability, equity and access to essential services.

Investments in health systems and structures, including innovations at the primary health care level and promoting community participation, awareness and norm change.

In an interview yesterday at Mkwidzi Business Centre, the provincial nursing officer, Mrs Joyce Sibanda, said the programme aims to ensure that healthcare services are as close as possible, without villagers encountering financial challenges.

She said the programmes are being run monthly by health facilities while the district hospitals conduct them quarterly.

"This outreach point caters for villagers, who live about 50km from the nearest place and there is no transport plying the route, which means it's not accessible. We cannot expect people to be walking such distances especially the elderly," said Mrs Sibanda.

"Situations like that call for added effort to ensure they have access. We are aiming to reach 300 people per outreach programme from Whunga village ,which is about 45km from a health centre, Joko Primary School in Beitbridge is another point where beneficiaries stay about 57km from Tongwe Rural Centre."

Mrs Sibanda said the outreach programmes are helping the ministry reach mass vaccination targets as well.

"We have the ongoing HPV vaccination targeting girls over 10 years and it would be hard for us to ask anyone to walk 45km just for a vaccine. This intervention is therefore helping us bring the much-needed life-saving services to the doorsteps of our people who may be too old," she said.

"We also have a pharmacy so that our people in need of medication can access and not default for better outcomes."

One of the beneficiaries, Ms Sengeziwe Moyo, from Mahlokohloko village said her children had gone for months without Vitamin supplements and other vaccinations.

She said a single trip to the clinic costs R120, which is beyond her reach.

"We are grateful for these outreach programmes that have brought healthcare services to our doorsteps, as we used to struggle walking long distances. I managed to get supplements for my children today and screened for cervical cancer including my blood pressure and blood sugar," said Ms Moyo.

Source - The Chronicle