Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu , Health Reporter
ABOUT 25 percent of people in Matabeleland South are still forced to walk more than 10km to the nearest health care facility.
The World Health Organisation recommends that health facilities should be at most five kilometres away from members of the public for better health outcomes. Statistics show that approximately one in every four households has at least one person living with a chronic condition and these are in constant need of medication and check up to control their conditions. Most of these diseases have no symptoms and require constant health care services to be detected and treated early.
The recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) report shows that as a result of inaccessible health institutions, many people with chronic illnesses end up defaulting their medication.
According to the report a significant proportion of those who reported to have missed a dose for other chronic conditions were largely affected by a lack of financial resources to acquire the necessary medication. “About a quarter of people in Matabeleland South walk more than 10km to access the nearest health care facility which tends to compromise their access to health. An additional 34 percent live at least five to 10km away from the nearest health facility,” read the report.
“Umzingwane (62 percent ) had the highest proportion of households who reported that they travelled less than five kilometres to their nearest health facility. About 29 percent of households in Beitbridge were reported to be travelling more than 10km to their nearest health facility.”
The report notes that only 44 people in the province had access to a nearer health facility and these walk less than five kilometers to their nearest clinics.
The report also showed that most of the people could not afford bus fare hence they walk to the healthcare facilities and those who cannot, do not access services at all.
“The most common chronic conditions in the province were HIV/Aids (50 percent) and hypertension (24.5 percent). Beitbridge district (45 percent) had the highest proportion of households with at least one member with hypertension while Insiza (12,8 percent) had the least,” read the report.
Insiza district had the highest HIV burden at 66 percent while Mangwe had the least at 32,3 percent. — @thamamoe.