GOVERNMENT has since independence made great strides in ensuring people in both rural and urban areas access health services.
Complemented by local authorities and the private sector, Government built a number of hospitals and clinics in order to ensure its citizens in both rural and urban areas are within walking distance of the nearest clinic or hospital. The health sector has over the years accounted for a big chunk of the national budget.
The challenge that the Government has been grappling with is providing adequate equipment, drugs and other consumables. The donor community has been doing a sterling job to assist in this regard.
Most people that are attended to at public health institutions cannot afford to pay for the services and as such these institutions are failing to recoup the costs of providing such services.
This is the major reason why most of them are operating without adequate drugs and other essentials as they rely on Government allocations.
Most of the people that are able to pay for services are those on Medical Aid but these are very few given that most people are now in informal employment.
We want at this juncture to commend the residents of Beitbridge for their initiatives to mobilise resources to assist Beitbridge District Hospital. The residents who include businesspeople operating under the banner ‘‘Friends of Beitbridge District Hospital’’ have undertaken to repair most of the broken-down equipment at the institution including ambulances and other service vehicles.
The group intends to raise R200 000 in the next three months to repair eight vehicles. One of the ambulances that has already been repaired by the group was handed over to the hospital authorities recently.
The group said once it addresses the issue of transport at the 140-bed hospital, it will then move to other necessities. We want to implore residents in other cities and towns to emulate the residents of Beitbridge who realised that instead of just mourning, they should organise.
It is an obligation of Government and local authorities to provide health services to citizens but given the competing priorities and limited resources, Government and councils might fail to provide adequate resources to run health facilities hence the need for residents and the private sector to assist.
We are very aware of the immense contributions being made by companies and organisations in the different cities and towns in equipping and upgrading public health facilities and we urge them to continue.
Organisations such as Iam4 ByoFighting Covid-19, have been mobilising resources to equip Bulawayo health institutions such as Ekusileni Medical Centre. This is as it should be so that all Zimbabweans have access to health services.