One of the main services offered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care is the immunisation of children against various antigens so that child mortality is prevented especially during the first five years.
When COVID-19 showed up at Zimbabwe’s door step in March 2020 and the subsequent imposition of the first lockdown, some people were so afraid to go and seek medical services at various health centres across the country.
Funds availed from the Results Based Financing (RBF) supported by the Health Development Fund (HDF) turned out to be a panacea for people living around Wanezi Rural Health Centre, Ward 1 in Mberengwa District as outreach immunisation were conducted to improve on that aspect of service delivery among under-fives.
Commenting on Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) outreach programme, Wanezi Rural Health Centre (RHC)Nurse in Charge, RGN Tawanda Munemo said immunisation continued as usual.
“Wanezi Health Centre has been offering EPI before and during COVID-19 era and we are still immunising children … we are vaccinating infants here at the facility and we also managed to do EPI outreach,” said RGN Munemo.
The Nurse in Charge noted that in 2019 they achieved 92 percent immunisation which rose to 95 percent in 2020 despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During COVID-19 era we had a facility of integrating EPI with other services like we used to say ‘carry the clinic’ to hard to reach areas,” the Nurse in Charge.
In terms of maternal services, RGN Munemo stated that service provision was never interrupted as they also embarked on training of health workers on how to handle the situation during the pandemic for the benefit of patients.
“We actually monitor mothers Ante-Natal Care (ANC) and offer post-natal services including vaccination, we offer that non-stop despite COVID-19.
“I can proudly say yes it was successful, initially with myths and misconceptions especially the 20 March 2020, we thought we were going to have challenges, we did not know how to handle situations … as far as EPI was concerned with COVID-19 present, but through training of health workers, how to protect ourselves, had to protect the community,” said RGN Munemo.
Health Centre Committee (HCC) Chairperson, Misheck Zhou, who is also a Village Health Worker (VHW) spoke highly of the service delivery which was done during the COVID-19 era which benefited the community at large.
“During COVID-19 we were assisted by RBF, we could teach people about COVID-19 preventive measures such as social distancing, hand washing with running water and masking. The district was also helping people in communities who would be far from health centres by providing outreach for treatment and child immunisation.
“These services have never been stopped because we had adequate health education urging people not to be afraid to seek health services,” said Zhou.
Overally in terms of service delivery, Mberengwa District performed well in terms of service delivery during the COVID-19 era, a success which should be applauded and RBF funding played a critical role for this success. For the 2021 year, Wanezi RHC aims to achieve 97 percent immunisation.