Fungi Kwaramba Political Editor
UNIVERSAL access to healthcare is becoming a reality under the leadership of President Mnangagwa whose administration is building modern healthcare centres countrywide.
This is part of 10 strategic focus areas that are characterised by the attainment of key outcomes enunciated in National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Last week, the President officially opened Stoneridge Health Centre in Harare, a facility that can rival any upmarket clinic as he lived to his promise of delivering health to the people, through improved access to essential medicines and commodities; increased access to water, sanitation and healthy environment; improved health infrastructure and medical equipment for Health Service Delivery.
In his speech, the President said that his Government is determined to implementing comprehensive reforms within the country’s health delivery system to enhance access to and affordability of healthcare.
“This follows the negative and deleterious impact of the illegal economic sanctions on all socio-economic spheres, including in the health sector”.
“The handover of this health centre is, therefore, most opportune as my Administration continues to accelerate its quest to realise Universal Health Coverage”.
This is part of the 10 strategic focus areas that also include, improved governance of the Health Service; improved health sector human resources performance; increased domestic funding for health.
In his address, the President said his Government is determined to improving reproductive and maternal health hence the construction of clinics in every corner of the country with accompanying facilities such as solar power and also vambulances.
“The health facilities of this nature dovetail with my Administration’s development philosophy of ‘leaving no one and no place behind’. In light of the above, the construction of Cowdry Park Clinic in Bulawayo, Mataga Clinic in Mberengwa, and Runyararo Clinic in Chimanimani, under phase one of the project should be speeded up”.
Under the US$200 million programme, 26 more health centres and five provincial hospitals will be constructed.
“It is important to note that these facilities will be fully furnished with modern equipment and other medical accessories and consumables. The envisaged construction of maternity wards in all the targeted health facilities will go a long way in enhancing maternal health care and further help in the reduction of maternal mortality,” said the President.
Key features of the medical centres that are being constructed by Zimbabwe, using its own resources and notwithstanding the albatross rock of illegal economic sanctions, include 4 male-in-patent, 4 female in patient, 4 padiatric in patient, 3 prenatal beds, 4 postnatal beds, staff ward, procedures room, 2 delivery room, x-ray room, dispensary, clinical laboratory and incinerator.
The medical centres will also come packed with an out-patient pavilion, 3 consulting room, counseling room and staff quarters.
This will be in every district of the country, reduce travel costs and time, and increasing health access itself a fulfillment of President Mnangagwa’s promise to ensure every Zimbabwean has access to medical care.
As per President Mnangagwa’s vision of skills transfer and job creation, the facilities are being designed and constructed by Zimbabweans.
“The speedy and successful completion of the projects under phase one will unlock the release of additional funds under the loan facility. That way, resulting in the construction of the remaining twenty six clinics and five District Hospitals.
As part of the heath sector stragic plan, clinics, which were in the past few in rural areas, under the programme remote areas will be given priority, the President said.
“In line with the devolution and decentralisation agenda, I direct that the forty ambulances commissioned today, be distributed to communities around the country, with the greatest need. In the same vein, I challenge our health authorities and personnel to take good care of the medical equipment and the ambulances”.
Apart from the 40 ambulances that were also commissioned, Government has bought another 160 that will soon arrive and the President stressed that they will be given to rural areas and high density suburbs.