OVER 3 000 Matobo villagers, who had to endure a nine-kilometre journey to the next health institution, heaved a sigh of relief last week after the district council opened a clinic in Silozwe village.
The clinic constructed by the Matobo Rural District Council (MRDC) in partnership with World Vision, the government, the diaspora community and villagers, would help ease pressure on Maphisa Clinic, which was in most cases overwhelmed, leaving patients to travel to Nathisa Clinic, 27 kilometres away from the village.
The situation had resulted in a rise in unsafe home delivery by pregnant women, while babies were unable to access immunisation facilities.
Speaking at the official opening of the clinic, MRDC chief executive Elvis Sibanda said the project was the brainchild of their strategic plan to have a health institution in every ward.
“In our 2015 strategic plan we stipulated that every ward should have a clinic to avoid communities walking long distances in search of health services. We then engaged World Vision as a development partner in 2016. With this clinic, home deliveries will be a thing of the past and children can easily access immunisation and vaccination,” he said.
District medical officer Matthew Mthunzi reiterated Matobo rural district council’s commitment to promote access to primary health care.
“We adopt and support a policy that no one should walk more than five kilometres to access basic health care. We are on the right trajectory in promoting access to primary health care,” he said.
The Health ministry played a critical role in providing qualified staff and equipment at the clinic and put up a solar system through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Solar for Health Initiative.
Member of Parliament for Matobo North Edgar Moyo commended the adoption of the tripartite model by the community in the construction of the clinic, which saw villagers providing labour and bricks while the diasporans supplied building material and businesspeople offered transport.
A Silozwe villager said the construction of the clinic had brought relief to the community.
“We are no longer walking for long distances to access health services and we are relieved. We are thankful to everyone who contributed to this cause,” Nothando Ncube said.
by TAMARY CHIKIWA