Nesia Mhaka and Columbus Mabika
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) have started expanding and upgrading Manyame Airbase Hospital to a state-of-the-art referral hospital for all defence medical institutions as part of efforts to upgrade health provision for serving members.
Speaking during a tour of the hospital, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the expansion was a sign of commitment to proper healthcare provision by ZDF, as the nation drives towards attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030.
“This hospital is very critical and important to the defence forces. This is an opportunity in the new dispensation of making sure that our institutions are self-sufficient as well as complementing the President’s vision that we modernise, mechanise and innovate as we move to achieve Vision 2030.
“This expansion is in line with President (Mnangagwa)’s agenda that aims at reducing the health burden on the populace through provision of quality universal healthcare,” she said.
The idea to expand Manyame Base Hospital was mooted in 2018 after it played a crucial role in saving the lives of people injured in the White City Stadium bombing in Bulawayo.
“We realised that this hospital had plenty to offer when it served the victims of the Bulawayo bombing incident in 2018, but had shortcomings. That is why we pushed for its expansion.
“And judging from what is happening in our health system where doctors are not available, this leaves our patients to seek medical health care in foreign countries, which does not go well for a country like ours that has invested heavily in medical training,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said the construction and expansion of existing health facilities, as well as ensuring the availability of affordable medicines, were priorities of the Government.
The ZDF will continue assisting the Ministry of Health and Child Care in providing health services, particularly in emergencies.
“The defence forces have always been a pillar of support and have since maintained their commitment over the years,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the ZDF has already invested in state-of-the-art equipment and required staff for the larger hospital.
Government was aware of the challenges which are being faced by the nation due to illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country.
Once completed, the hospital is expected to benefit thousands of uniformed forces and their dependants.