THE destruction of Manama Mission Hospital in a recent storm has been a big inconvenience, nay a threat, to the health of thousands who are normally served by the Gwanda facility.
The weather event on the third of this month crippled the 82-year-old health centre’s ability to render health services as effectively as it should so many patients are being referred to Sengezana Clinic, 43km away.
Manama Mission Hospital was left without electricity and damaged solar panels, water tanks and telecommunication cables. Roofs at the maternity, family and child health, female and antenatal wards were blown off. As a result, the expanded programme of immunisation, maternity delivery services, postnatal care services, isolation of Covid-19 positive mothers and antenatal care services have been suspended.
In total, the damage needed US$40 000 to fix.
Health centres provide critical services, some of which are needed as a matter of emergency, so the absence of such facilities as in the Manama case, can be the difference between one losing their life or not.
We saw an outpouring of concern over the damage, some people asking the Government to immediately move in to fix the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe-owned hospital. One or two fund-raising campaigns have been initiated on social media. It appeared the church was unable to immediately move in while the social media campaign is struggling for support.
The Government through the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has moved in with ZW$5 million that is required to buy material to rehabilitate the hospital. For labour, the army has been deployed on site.
Announcing the intervention on Wednesday, CPU director Mr Nathan Nkomo stressed the essential role that the hospital plays and the need for it to be fixed.
“The money was mobilised from the temporary deposit accounts in the various provinces and channelled towards Manama Hospital disaster,” he said.
“We have moved ZW$5 million and we think those resources will see us through the rapid response system in putting back Manama Hospital to its functionality. When you look at Manama Hospital it is a referral hospital for many districts in the province like Beitbridge. So that kind of infrastructure needs our intervention.”
The Government intervention was most timely. Our people were exposed to unnecessary suffering as a result of the damage at the health centre. It is possible that some of them who were unwell and needed treatment at Manama were unable to access it anywhere else as they had to mobilise more transport money to travel to their nearest alternative — Sengezana Clinic, 43km away. It must have been difficult for such people.
However, with the money now already moved to get the job done, we expect everything to be done as fast as possible from tendering and procurement to reconstruction.
The army has always performed beyond our expectations when called in to save lives, build or rebuild infrastructure.
Therefore, the Manama Mission Hospital assignment should be done as speedily as others of the same nature have been accomplished in the past so that the people of Gwanda, Beitbridge and other districts in Matabeleland South who are served by the hospital can access services as before.