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Govt set ambitious plan to build new clinics

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has set an ambitious target of constructing three clinics with 20 beds each in Bulawayo, Mberengwa and Chimanimani and building an additional 30 health posts in villages per year.

Most of Zimbabwe’s population is based in rural areas where health facilities have no capacity to meet treatment demand while overall, the country’s health sector has suffered neglect due to decades of underfunding, causing consistent shortages of staffing and medical supplies.

Commenting on plans put in place to build more clinics in provincial areas, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro said the ministry was targeting to build more health facilities.

“Currently, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is in the process of constructing three-twenty bedded clinics in Bulawayo, Mberengwa and Chimanimani after finishing one in Southlea Park (in Harare). Furthermore, we are constructing health posts which are located in villages. With health posts, we are targeting to be building 30 sites per annum,” he said.

Dr Mangwiro acknowledged that staffing was a priority since there were some clinics that lacked adequate health workers.

“Staffing definitely is a priority. It is ongoing and training and recruitment are being done. As a matter of policy, we have even gone to the extent of recruiting those who are retired. So, staffing is our top priority as we do this construction,” he said.

Communities have also raised concern that despite shortages of medical supplies, some rural hospitals had no mortuaries, causing people to fork out huge amounts of money when someone died while moving the corpses to mortuaries.

The deputy minister underlined that the government’s policy is hospitals should have mortuaries.

“Wherever we are constructing hospitals, there shall be mortuaries.  On the issue of doctors, it is a policy that provincial and district hospitals should be manned by doctors,” Dr Mangwiro said.

“So, all hospitals as we go along will be manned by general practitioners.  For provincial hospitals – we target to have 20 specialists in them, for district hospitals we target to have at least six specialists in them. A hospital is called a hospital because there is a doctor, otherwise, if there is no doctor it becomes a clinic or health centre.”

A week ago health workers went on strike demanding to be paid salaries in United States Dollars as inflation has eroded their salaries.

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