During his tour of Bulawayo central hospitals recently, Honourable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga recommended that Ingutsheni Central Hospital focuses on animal and crop husbandry with the produce benefiting United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Hospitals.
“We want Ingutsheni to produce food requirements for both UBH and Mpilo Hospitals. They must now keep livestock such as cattle, goats, pigs and introduce poultry production at the farm. They must aim to have fisheries and above all a viable horticulture production” said Dr. Chiwenga.
In terms of the promotion of healthy foods, Dr Chiwenga called for the growth of small grains which have less sugar content.
“They must grow small grains for use by patients and the hospital staff . . . I know a lot of people would like maize, yes we are going to have that but I have been discussing with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Vangelis Haritatos) that we need to go for high protein food,” said VP Chiwenga.
The Vice President buttressed the need to carry out the projects to fruition, making sure that they are beneficial to both patients and staff members.
“All those are going to be done, grow the vegetables for all the hospitals’ patients and staff,” noted Dr. Chiwenga.
Turning to the maintenance of the Ministry of Health hospital equipment and fleet, VP Chiwenga stated that a workshop will be set at Ingutsheni Hospital as a cost-cutting measure and contain expenditure by avoiding outsourcing vehicle repairs.
“We are also going to have maintenance workshops. The vehicles must be repaired not to send them to garages in town, but we must be able to maintain our ambulances and the vehicles that we are going to give you must have a center where they would be repaired.
“Our situation will never be the same again and where we must cut costs, we must cut costs, there is no reason we should be wasteful,” said Dr. Chiwenga.
Currently, Ingutsheni Hospital is utilizing a 6-hectare plot for agricultural purposes using four boreholes. The institution has been growing vegetables for their own consumption and there is potential to do more.
The success of these projects will see the Ministry of Health significantly reducing the bill for buying meat and vegetables as well as vehicle maintenance.