First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has appealed to Government to fully support Karanda Mission Hospital as it is struggling to implement the free user fee policy.
Speaking after touring the hospital as part of her cancer countrywide campaign tours, Amai Mnangagwa said the institution had great potential.
“May the Government support this hospital so that it can be able to maintain its standards. I am really impressed by Karanda. This hospital caters for the rest of Zimbabwe, neighbouring countries like Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi, among others.
“May the Government support the hospital so that we might not even have people having to go outside Zimbabwe to seek treatment. The hospital has so much potential and can do much more when fully funded.
“Pandaikura taiudzwa kuti ukawona zvakona kuKaranda, Mwari vanenge vaita kuda kwavo. This hospital has the best standards and it has maintained the same standards over the years,” she said.
Karanda Mission Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Daniel Stephens said the hospital is grappling to implement the free user fee policy especially in surgery due to inadequate funding and diminishing funding from the international donors.
“Karanda is struggling to implement the free user fee policy especially on surgeries for the under-five years of age and those over 65 years. Over a quarter of our surgical revenue comes from this cadre of patients amounting to over US$250, 000 a year,” he said.
“If Karanda cannot charge for all its surgical procedures, including for those who are over 65, these folks will need to be referred to other hospitals or to the private sector at greatly increased cost to the patients. We understand the concern but we need to be able to afford the care we provide.”
He said the hospital was overwhelmed and its staff worked under pressure.
“We do at least 15-20 surgeries per day and the hospital is overwhelmed. We are a mission hospital and these surgeries are done at a lower cost compared to Government institutions. We sometimes have no option but to carry out surgery even when the patient has no money.”
Removal of prostate or uterus cost not more than US$500 inclusive of all costs at Karanda Mission Hospital.
The same procedure costs about US$1 000 in public hospitals.
Meanwhile, Karanda Mission Hospital has a shortage of accommodation for its staff.
Some nurses are staying in villages.
“While the filling up of posts has helped reduce the workload, the greatest challenge we are facing is that of accommodation. While the catchment population catered for by the hospital has increased over the years meaning more work, the hospital infrastructure has not been improved to cater for the needed staff.
“Some of the nurses are currently living in the nearby villages and our appeal is for the Government to support us build more apartments for them.”
Karanda Mission Hospital is well known for carrying out surgeries for prostate cancer and cancer of the cervix.
Amai Mnangagwa has been carrying out cancer awareness campaigns across the country and the campaign has seen several women being screened for cervical cancer.
In general AIDS-related cancer remains a public health concern with cervical cancer increasing on a yearly basis from 2005 to 2015.