Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
GOVERNMENT has been urged to re-establish community rehabilitation centres in rural areas for disabled and psychiatric patients who cannot travel to cities for the services. Government, through the Ministry of Health and the Social Welfare Department, used to have volunteer programmes where qualified personnel would visit villages and offer rehabilitation services to those in need. However, due to lack of funding, most of the centres are now defunct leaving patients struggling to raise the money required for them to travel to Mutare or Harare for the same services.
Mrs Sibongile Maedza, from the Support for Socialisation Zimbabwe, an organisation working in Manicaland Province to offer physiotherapy services to disabled children, said there was need to revive community-based rehabilitation (CBR).
“Physiotherapy services should be brought closer to the people in need. The challenge we have with community-based rehabilitation is that it needs money to be successful but there are no resources so the ministry has stopped offering the service,” she said.
“However, as an organisation, we still do some assessments on patients using our own therapist but because we do not have a budget, we cannot do much more. We then refer people to Harare where they can get good services.”
She said her organisation had approached the Ministry of Health and Child Care with a view of working together to revive the programme in rural communities.
“We still visit a few centres in Manicaland which used to offer such services and once a budget has been availed, we will begin the CBR programme,” said Mrs Maedza.