Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
TWENTY clinics are under construction in Bulilima using resources raised by the local community and people hailing from the area now living in the diaspora, a development that will eventually see the district complying with the World Health Organisation requirement that people must not walk more than 5km to the nearest health centre.
Bulilima East MP who is also the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu has hailed people from his constituency for partnering Government in the development of infrastructure resulting in several clinics being constructed.
Cde Ndlovu made the remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Diba Clinic in Bulilima District, Matabeleland South Province on Saturday.
“Let us analyse the diaspora contribution in the development of our area. One clinic costs R500 000. When we talk of 20 clinics, it means we are close to R10 million that is invested in the social infrastructure by our children based in the diaspora. This is the highest investment that can be done by locals partnering the Government,” he said.
Cde Ndlovu said Bulilima District could be the top district in the country in terms of investment by locals based in the diaspora.
He said while other districts wait for Government to initiate development projects like the construction of clinics, Bulilima has taken the lead which is something to be emulated by people living in other districts in the country.
“I want to thank the community in the district for not looking up to foreign donors but taking the lead using local resources to develop our areas. Let us have that sense of ownership of developing our areas using our local resources,” he said.
Cde Ndlovu said Diba Clinic will assist the elderly who can’t travel long distances, the treatment of chronic illnesses as well as emergencies like women in labour and accidents.
The minister donated 20 bags of cement and a wheelbarrow to help in the construction work.
Speaking at the same occasion, Bulilima Rural District Council chief executive officer, Mr John Brown Ncube said 20 clinics are under construction throughout the district using resources availed by locals both in the country and in the diaspora.
“We have 20 clinics that are different stages of construction. As a district our priorities are health with construction of clinics and education with the construction of schools. We are addressing the issue of access so that our people do not travel far to access these crucial services,” said Mr Ncube.
He said two other clinics, Bezu Clinic and Tokwana Clinic which were also built using the same method have already been commissioned.
He said eight clinics will be will commissioned this year.
“Between now and August we will commission four clinics, Mbimba, Malalume, Ngwana and Gampu clinics. Around December we will be commissioning Mambo, Tematema, Gwambe and Somnene clinics. The locals have set up various chapters of locals based in various areas and they raise the money which is channelled to the construction,” he said.
Mr Ncube said 12 other clinics are at different stages of construction with most of them set for completion next year as communities are determined to finish the projects.
He said while Government standards say clinics must be 10km apart, council is adopting the World Health Organisation standards which say people must not walk more than 5km to access health services.
The chairman of the committee overseeing the construction of Diba Clinic, Mr Femani Richard Dabangana said they hope to finish the project in the next couple of years.
“We have about 60 000 bricks on site, and 50 bags of cement which were contributed by the community. The clinic will cater for over 500 people which covers about nine village heads. Funding is from the locals with each homestead contributing R250 a year while the locals in the diaspora contribute R500 per person, per year,” said Mr Dabangana.
He said the community is committed to the project with the clinic slab set to be done by June.
Mr Dabangana said various chapters of the locals in various places have also been set to help raise funds.
“It is a big project which we are undertaking and we are open to well-wishers who may want to chip in with any form of assistance. It is important that we have a health facility that caters for the health needs of the community. We will see this clinic finished so that our people do not have to travel far for health services,” he said.
Diba Clinic is in the same ward with Gwambe Clinic which is also funded by locals and is now at roofing stage. — themkhust.