BY GILBERT MUNETSI recently in murehwa
Villagers in Murehwa South constituency have pooled together resources for the purchase of a ventilator and protective materials to deal with possible Covid-19 cases in the area.
Nhowe Mission Hospital medical superintendent Jonathan Mudiya told Standard Style on a recent tour of the health facility that though there had not yet been any positive cases reported, residents of the area had seen it prudent to plug in the holes in case of Covid-19 challenges.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in December in China last year and the subsequent imposition of a lockdown by the government, most health institutions have had to operate without ventilators making this achievement by Nhowe Mission Hospital stand out.
The hospital, built in 2002 by the Church of Christ, serves in excess of 60 000 people and its catchment area stretches as far afield as Manicalad province to the east and Mutoko district in the north-east.
“The ventilator was acquired through a partnership with the local community, which assisted with the mobilisation of resources and availed to us the gadget as a donation,” said Mudiya.
“Thus as an institution, we are well-prepared and all our staff have also been adequately trained. We have extended the training to include capacitation of staff at surrounding clinics.
“Our pool of environmental health workers make regular inspection visits in the area and their patrols are complemented by yet another team of village health workers who all have been issued with PPEs [personal protective equipment] and infrared thermometers.”
He said the community had also sourced face shields, colour-coded bins, knapsack sprayers and several hundreds of litres of fuel for rapid response needs.
A WhatsApp platform, Murehwa South Community group, has been established to share information such as national statistics and matters arising within the vicinity.
An isolation centre for both male and female patients has since been set up in one wing of the 78-bed hospital as Nhowe Mission Hospital leaves no stone unturned in preparation for potential Covid-19 threats.
With the hospital staff temporarily downing tools in protest over monetary matters which they wanted resolved, Mudiya said as an administration they had embarked on some projects to alleviate the plight of the workforce. These included a garden from which the produce was being sold to staff at subsidised amounts. Surplus produce is sold to a food chain in Marondera town as well as to Marondera Provincial Hospital.
“From 2018, we have managed to harvest maize for mealie-meal from the piece of land converted to agriculture. The vegetables, butternuts and tomatoes harvested are sold to hospital staff at one-third of their value and this has gone a long way in helping them cope in the face of economic hardships,” Mudiya said.
Like many other health institutions, Nhowe Mission Hospital has not been spared the demands for better conditions from workers who had to be addressed by a local councillor who pleaded with them to return to work while their grievaces were being looked into by the Christopher Chetsanga-led board.
Among their demands was the request to have their remuneratios reviewed, as well as a call for improved management-worker relations.