Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
PUBLIC health institutions should improve their relations with members of the public and treat patients with dignity as that is part of their mandate, First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa said yesterday. Amai Mnangagwa paid surprise visits to Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) to assess how personnel at the health institutions relate with patients, the maintenance of the hospitals as well as the challenges they are facing.
The First Lady also launched a national programme to assist vulnerable children in order to improve their livelihoods. She spent the day with orphans from different children’s homes at Thembiso Children’s Home and donated groceries to the institutions before giving the children an early Christmas treat of lunch and games.
Nurses at the two hospitals were caught unawares making it easy for the First Lady to experience what the patients go through when seeking treatment at the health institutions. At one of the hospitals, the nurses attending to her told her that there were no cards at the hospital and wrote her details on a piece of paper and asked her in a rude manner if she had the money to pay for the services.
The First Lady, who waited patiently for her turn to be served in the long queue, had first-hand experience of the long process patients go through to be served. She told our Bulawayo Bureau that it was important for health institutions to treat their patients with dignity. “I did not like the attitude by some of the nurses. I want to encourage staff at our hospitals to be friendly to members of the public, especially patients. It is their mandate to serve the patients.
“I understand that the hospitals are facing many challenges, which include shortage of medicines and other consumables. This should not stop our nurses from treating their patients with care. When nurses are welcoming, it makes life easy for patients, despite their conditions and the shortages,” said Amai Mnangagwa. She also encouraged management at the hospitals to make sure that their institutions are always clean to create a conducive environment for patients and visitors.
Speaking about the programme for orphans, Amai Mnangagwa said she will cover all the provinces. “We have launched the programme in Bulawayo and our next port of call is Binga in Matabeleland North and Gwanda in Matabeleland South. The programme will spread to all provinces in the country so that we reach out to as many children as we can. My tour will help me find out what is happening to these children who have been abandoned, see what they need and how I can help them,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
“As I visit them, I’m giving out bedding, food, sanitary wear and clothes,” she said. The programme, Amai Mnangagwa added, will also look into the payment of school fees for the orphans. Earlier on, the First Lady addressed residents at the children’s home and told them that she launched the programme in Bulawayo because she loves the province.
“God talked to me in my dreams that I should launch this programme in Bulawayo. This is a province I call home and I love it. I even refused to be received at the airport because I was coming home. I am prepared to work with the people of Bulawayo to bring to an end the problems that are troubling this province,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
The First Lady said the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Angeline Masuku briefed her about the industries that have collapsed and the Ekusileni Hospital that is still closed after a decade of being constructed, among other problems. She promised to advise the President and make sure something is done to bring Bulawayo back to its status of being the country’s industrial hub.
The new dispensation under President Mnangagwa’s leadership has stressed the need for efficiency in the public service and ensuring that citizens derive value from Government institutions.