Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has put in place a monitoring and evaluation system through the Joint Operation Command (JOC) to ensure health institutions in the Midlands Province do not charge the elderly, pregnant women and minors under the age of five.
This was said by Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Owen Ncube as he welcomed First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa who was touring the Gweru Provincial Hospital yesterday.
“It is disappointing to report that some of the health institutions in the province were not complying with Government’s free user fee for children aged five years and below, those aged 65 years and above and pregnant mothers,” he said.
“In light of this, we have put in place a monitoring and evaluation system through the Joint Operations Command (JOC) to closely monitor this non adherence to policy.”
First Lady Mnangagwa was touring the hospital on a cervical and breast cancer screening initiative. Minister Ncube urged Government to lift a ban on the recruitment of health workers saying some institutions were incapacitated. He said the new medical equipment procured by Government for public health institutions should see hospitals offering better services.
“Some of the equipment is not being fully utilised as vacant posts have been frozen. There is need for increasing staff at hospitals as the current establishments are not in conformity with recent disease burden,” said Minister Ncube.
The First Lady who is spearheading the fight against cancer, launched the cervical, breast and prostate cancers screening programme on Wednesday at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
She was screened together with other women and also took the fight against cancer to Mpilo Central Hospital. At Gweru Provincial Hospital, she donated an assortment of foodstuffs. She urged both women and men to be checked for cancer as it is a silent killer.
“Fathers and mothers, girls and boys, we are dying because of this silent killer. Cancer is a silent killer and we should all go for screening early so that if it is detected you then get early treatment. Cancer knows no age, it knows no race. But it can be treated if detected early,” she said.
UNFPA assistant representative Ms Abigail Msemburi commended her for fighting against the disease.
“Globally cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer which is often detected when it is too late to be cured resulting in the deaths of women mostly in the prime of their lives,” she said.
“We want to express our sincere gratitude to the First Lady for the commitment she has shown in raising awareness to the problem of cervical cancer.”