THE shortage of medical supplies has been a major challenge to health institutions in Matabeleland South where some clinics have gone for months without basic medication like Paracetamol among other drugs.
This was revealed by Matabeleland South provincial medical director Dr Rudo Chikodzore during First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s visit to the province yesterday.
Amai Mnangagwa is in the province for her family fun sports day to be held today.
The First Lady, who is the Ambassador for Health and Child Care, recently donated bicycles for village health workers countrywide and yesterday took the chance to make a follow-up in Matabeleland South.
She visited Nhlangano and Natisa clinics in Umzingwane and Matobo districts where she was welcomed by ecstatic health workers who received the donated bicycles.
“I came here for a family fun sports day where I will be mixing and mingling with the elderly through sports so we promote healthy lifestyles. I then decided to pass through these clinics to see how the health workers are managing and using the donated bicycles,” said the First Lady.
“I know that clinics are far away from referral hospitals and these bicycles are used by our village health workers to go supervise patients and gather information on what is needed in those hard to reach areas.
“Most of our folks in these communities are aged and cannot walk long distances to the clinics hence the need for these bicycles,” she said.
According to the First Lad,y the bicycles would enable health workers to be mediators between the patient and the clinic.
One of the health workers, Ms Sukoluhle Hlabangane, who lives 22km from Natisa Clinic said the bicycle would go a long way in helping her fulfil her duties.
“I used to walk 22km from my homestead to the clinic to file reports on patients under our care and additional kilometres visiting them one by one. We are grateful to our mother as she has made our duties lighter,” she said.
Dr Chikodzore, who was also at the clinic, said the province had been failing to get adequate supplies from the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm).
“Currently, our medical supplies are not up to where we want them to be though we have noted some improvements in supplies in the past days,” she said.
“One of our major challenges in the region is that we relied on our Bulawayo regional NatPharm branch and most times we get our drugs list from them and we make our orders based on that on what they have.
“However, when the drugs are availed, they would not be according to the list we would have provided.
“We were being told that medication would be available in Harare and we would have, for example, some of our institutions where they order about 50 boxes of a certain drug but they only get five or 10 because there will be limited supplies available in our regional branch.”
According to Dr Chikodzore, the regional NatPharm should also have the same supplies as the one in Harare as that would go a long way in assisting health institutions.
After she was briefed of the situation in both clinics, the First Lady through her foundation donated corn-soya blend porridge to alleviate malnutrition in children.
She also donated an assortment of food tuffs to the families of the Nugget Mine victims who died on Monday.
“I have also brought some items with me for our children as I understand we have some facilities here at the clinic where the porridge can be cooked for them. I also brought sundries for the clinic staff to use in their day-to-day duties,” said the First Lady.
She also donated clothing for new born babies and hygiene kits for expectant mothers being housed in the waiting mothers’ shelters at both clinics.
She emphasised that her programmes and visits were non-partisan saying she was mainly concerned about the upliftment of communities.