Clinic breathes fresh life to Gawa villagers

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…women now have easy access to maternal health

 Perseverance Javangwe

Gawa villagers in Gokwe South, the Southern part of Zimbabwe are rejoicing after the completion of their clinic which had taken a long period to complete forcing villagers to travel 10km or more to seek access to health care services with pregnant women bearing much of the burden.

For decades, Gawa villagers traveled long distances to access health care services. Their nearest clinics were between 10 and 18km away. This had negative impacts on the villagers as women were forced to deliver their babies at home while some villagers passed on due to a lack of health facilities close by. Maternal health complications have also been detected among pregnant women in the village.

During a tour of the clinic organized by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations, villagers who spoke with this reporter expressed gratitude for the work that has been done to complete the clinic while paying tribute to the leaders who coordinated to make the project a success.

“We are grateful because of this clinic. I want to thank ZHOCD and our community leadership here for this great work. The building of this clinic was started some years back, but could not be completed in time due to some circumstances. As young women, it was a struggle traveling longer distances to clinics while we were pregnant, but now that the clinic is at its final stages I am so happy. I heard our leadership saying the paints, and some bags of cement for the final stages are already here, we are grateful for the wonderful work,” said Rizona Matsve.

“I am grateful to our leadership here including MP Masvisvi in absentia, who pushed hard for this clinic to be finalized I also want to thank our councilor, and our leaders from the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD). ZHOCD is assisting us in building a unity of purpose through developmental projects. It has been tough for us as women because we did not have a clinic in our area. We were walking long distances, it was a challenge because we were forced to walk 9km or 10km while looking for a close clinic. Our children fell sick, and we could not even raise the necessary funds needed to take them to clinics, but now we are grateful for this clinic which has been built close to us, and we are grateful to our leadership. Our clinic is at the final stages of completion, and we are happy as women that we now get maternal health care close,” said Lainah Mutsere.

“As a businessman, I usually visit the place to check around, and I am happy that it is now complete because as a businessman I will also be benefitting from the patients coming from the clinic to buy some goodies at the shop. I am grateful to our MP, Masvisvi for the great work, and also our councilor who makes effort to inquire about the needs of the community. However, since our clinic is situated close to the business center I would like to suggest that there should be security since there are bottle stores close by because some of the drunkards might vandalise our clinic, and it will bring another burden,” said Mugwebe a businessman at Gawa shopping center.

A health worker identified as Artkise Manondo stated that it is not easy for him to do his work because he is forced to cover a lot of villages in wards 19, 20, and 32 while walking on foot. He said that having a clinic close by will assist in doing his work without hurdles.

“Today I feel happy with our leadership including UDASIZA, our councilor, and Ward 32 chairperson. What they have done here is commendable because as a community we are behind in terms of health care services. Just recently at Gawa Primary School, we had four children with measles and were separated during examinations to avoid the spread. Women were also traveling long distances to Hlalambi, Mateta which is far, and there is no transport to get there we are grateful for this development, and we wish that more development will be witnessed here. As a health worker, I am not happy with where I am working because it is far, and sometimes I am forced to boycott monthly meetings because it is far. Above all, I do not have a bicycle to travel there. So now that this clinic is close by, it will be helpful for us to do our work,” he said.

Ward Development Coordinator for wards 19, 20, and 32 George Gogwe from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender, Community, Small, and Medium Development said that the clinic was a new breath of life, especially for the women in Gawa who had to endure the longer distances.

“Before this clinic, we were traveling to Mateta clinic for 18km, and Nyaradza clinic for 18km as well to seek health care. Our clinic project started a while ago, and was moving slowly but due to coordination between all the leaders including village heads, church leaders, community leaders, councilors they all made things flow until our honorable MP Masvisvi assisted us, and provided all the necessary resources needed to complete the clinic. Some of these resources include doors, cement, keys, and paints, as you can see if the clinic is painted all will be done soon,” said Gogwe.

Ward 32 councilor Remigeo Mhazo paid tribute to the MP who agreed to channel the Community Development Funds towards the completion of the clinic. He also applauded the community for contributing some of the resources that made it possible to complete the project.

“The development that we are witnessing now was made possible after we received the CDF funds. That is when we sat with MP Masvisvi, and we discussed this clinic, and he was able to purchase bags of cement, doors, and also buckets of paint. So we can safely say this clinic is complete because all the resources are available. The builders left here just two days ago after finishing everything, and now we just need to paint the clinic. I want to applaud the community for coming together, and contributing things like river, and pit sand for building the clinic. Now we are only left with toilets and a house for the nurses. As we speak I have 30bags of cement that I want to hand over to the chairman today so that they can start building the nurses’ house,” he said.

ZHOCD Project Officer for Gokwe South Philemon Handinahama Hwami talked about the importance of advocacy and engagements with relevant community leaders which have brought about the success of the clinic project.

“Let me take you a little while back, if you remember this clinic was in a sorry state, but because of the advocacy work, and also because of the community engagements that we had this is now the new state of affairs. The clinic has been renovated. It is now in a better situation than previous, and I am very happy because of the interaction that we did with the duty bearers including village heads, councilors, and the MP in trying to raise the need for the rehabilitation of this clinic. From what we are getting from the women here, they are now happy with a health facility very close to their village, and now they no longer have to travel long distances to seek medical services. I want to thank EU-Troicare for having given us the ZHOCD an opportunity to work in Gokwe South and bring about this development that we are realising now. I know we are coming to the end of this project but I am very happy that we can now talk about outcome harvesting because of the developments that have taken place here. I am happy that as promised by the councilor, and MP that this clinic should be operational by December 2022,” said Hwami.

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