Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter
HUNDREDS of people in Victoria Falls received free testing, check-up and counselling on different ailments during a health expo organised by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Those who received free services were tested and received free advice on diabetes, hypertension, eye illness, dental care, oral health, HIV and Aids, opportunistic infections and Ebola. The medical team was made up of health experts from the Victoria Falls health services department, Ministry of Health and Child Care, National Aids Council and Environment Africa.
The health expo was organised by Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Victoria Falls District youths at Chinotimba Bus Terminus. Those served went on to receive free treatment for seven days at Chinotimba Clinic. The church’s youth president Moses Zinyemba said the idea came as a result of a realisation that many youths were affected and infected by HIV and Aids hence the need for awareness.
The health expo, the first of its kind in the resort town, had been earmarked to end at midday but organisers had to contend with a high turnout as people were still coming late in the afternoon. “This shows that people really need help in terms of health. As a church we saw that despite illness, there’s God who helps people, which is why we invited all the health partners to come and give speeches and educate through information desks,” said Zinyemba.
He added: “God permitting we plan to organise a bigger one for the whole district and the rural areas to also include TB and malaria, which is prevalent in this province. We would really want to thank God for his guidance on this.”
Pastor Dumisani Nxumalo said the idea was to give a platform for people to access free medical attention.
“The church is showing its role to the community because we value a healthy nation which is next to God’s salvation. People need knowledge about diseases and we felt we should have professionals to come and give service,” he said.
NAC district coordinator Nehemiah Ndlovu encouraged men not to shun HIV and Aids testing saying most of them were reluctant to accompany their pregnant wives for voluntary counselling and testing to enhance elimination of mother to child transmission. Hwange West Member of National Assembly Cde Bekithemba Mpofu said people should be wary of some prophets or traditionalists who discourage people from taking ARVs saying they get healed through “ivine intervention”. “Sometimes people have no money to go to hospital and it’s through such initiatives that the country can attain its goals. We’ll support you and let’s have more of these. ,” he said.
People expressed gratitude to the expo organisers.
“We thank God for guiding the church to come up with such an idea. I’m diabetic and have been failing to raise consultation fees but now I can access treatment after being tested today,” said 69-year-old Eunice Sibanda of Mkhosana.