Bulilima and Mangwe districts in Matabeleland South province, are faced with mobility challenges, owing to limited means of transport, at a time when the country is battling the novel COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed many lives across the globe.
The mobility of health workers such as doctors, nurses and even village health workers is key when it comes to contact tracing in COVID-19 cases.
The two districts, attached to Plumtree border town, just like any other rural district cover vast areas of land, with some villages spaced by about 150 km, making their accessibility a challenge to health workers.
Speaking during a handover ceremony of bicycles donated to village health workers in the two districts in Plumtree on Thursday, health officials in the areas said mobility was a serious challenge for them.
Amalima and World Bicycle Relief (WBR) donated a total of 150 bicycles to be shared equally between Bulilima and Mangwe.
Acting District Medical Officer for Mangwe, Dr Nyasha Hunda, said they were struggling cover all health centres in the district.
“In this environment of COVID-19 we have been struggling with mobility given the fact that we need to be following up people at their homesteads,” said Dr Hunda.
“In total we have 13 facilities in the district and mobility is one of the things that we have been struggling with all along. We have been struggling to see how we can improve our access to the furthest communities in the district.”
Maxwell Maphosa, acting health services administrator for Bulilima District Medical Officer, said they were also faced with a similar challenge.
“Currently we are facing challenges in accessing those far places in rural areas,” said Maphosa.
“We have our village health workers who do not have transport. Sometimes they have to walk long distances from point A to point B.”
Chithekile Ndlovu, a village health worker from Ndiweni clinic in Bulilima, said at times they are forced to walk long distances to reach out to patients.
However, the health workers said the donation of 75 bicycles to each district would help them improve on their mobility.