Sydney Mubaiwa in ZAKA
ACUTE water challenges have crippled operations at Ndanga District Hospital, the biggest referral centre in Zaka.
The water crisis has caused the temporary closure of the theatre wing since last year.
Importantly, the institution’s capacity to fight the spread of Covid-19, which demands cleanliness, has been considerably compromised.
Health officials and patients are now walking for about 3km to fetch water from a borehole at the nearby Chimedza Secondary School.
Giving oral evidence during a tour of the district’s isolation facility by the Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee (DCC) together with the Zaka District Covid-19 task force, the district medical officer Dr Mutero Mupereki said the water problem had gone for several months now.
He said serious cases requiring emergency surgery were being referred to Masvingo General Hospital due to the water challenges.
“We are in a very serious situation here, we don’t have running water due to pumping faults. We raised the issue with Zinwa officials but up to now, there is no feedback.
“We are not even sure when we will get water supplies because our borehole had pumping problems since last year,” said Dr Mupereki.
He said they were experiencing challenges with cleaning hospital utensils and linen.
A nurse who declined to be named said the situation was disheartening.
“The water shortages have been going on for a while now. Women in maternity wards have been asked to bring water from home. We are at risk as the country is fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Meanwhile, the isolation facility at the hospital is still undergoing renovations, amid delays in the release of funds due to red tape.
Said Dr Mupereki: “As you are aware that there are Government procedures to be followed; the tendering processes are delaying the whole thing and we can’t do anything on our own.
“A lot needs to be done in our isolation facility and as we speak we are unable to admit Covid-19-related patients since we don’t have running water and personal protective equipment.”
He appealed to Government for mote test kits as the district has become a Covid-19 hotspot.
Jerera growth point is also a possible Covid-19 hotspot due to truck inns, where truck drivers engage commercial sex workers.
Speaking at the same function on behalf of Zaka District chief executive, Mr Edward Chivasa appealed to Government to allow councils use devolution funds to rehabilitate isolation facilities in the face of the scourge.
“We have water problems and the financial challenges as stated by the DMO. But we are in a state of emergency due to the Covid-19 disaster and we are appealing to the Government to allow councils access the devolution funds to rehabilitate isolation facilities,” he said.