Last Saturday, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga toured Nyanga District Hospital and Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Manicaland Province where he emphasised on the need to equip these health facilities with modern equipment in order to deliver high-quality health services.
Some health facilities are experiencing power outages, a scenario that affects the cold chain system for the storage of vaccines. In order to avert this challenge, the Ministry of Health in conjunction with development partners in addressing power issues through usage of solar energy.
“Over sixty (60) percent of most rural facilities are experiencing erratic power supply. In concert with Global Fund, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Health Development Fund (HDF), my Ministryembarked on a programme to install solar power at some of the health care centres located in outlying areas.
“The project, which is running under the theme, ‘Solar for Health,’ is targeting Six Hundred and Forty (640) health facilities for installation of solar energy. To date, seventy (70) health facilities, including Nyanga District Hospital benefited,” said VP Chiwenga.
Developments in health delivery systems are now inclined towards automation and this demand continuous power supply, hence the shift to use of solar power.
“The provision of electricity will achieve a milestone in the automation of the health care system in Zimbabwe.
“The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe is keen to establish ‘smart hospitals’ in areas such as the City of Victoria Falls, which are the mainstay of tourism in the country,” said Dr Chiwenga.
At Nyanga District Hospital, VP Chiwenga pledged to see to it that dysfunctional equipment will be repaired in order to make service delivery efficient and effective.
“Concerning equipment inventory, on high priority list is the repair of your dysfunctional X-ray machine and replacement of old laundry machines and kitchenware,” said VP Chiwenga.
Water availability at health facilities is of paramount importance and in order to have a reliable water source, the Ministry will drill boreholes at those facilities which have water shortages.
“To avert challenges of inadequate supply of clean water in some health institutions, my Ministry embarked on a nation-wide borehole-drilling programme,” said VP Chiwenga.
At Victoria Chitepo Hospital, VP Chiwenga noted the urgent need to equip the provincial hospital to cover all equipment requirements to satisfactorily serve patients without referring them to Harare. Oxygen is now in demand medically and plans are underway to have large oxygen tanks at all hospitals
“The Government will fully equip the Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital COVID 19 Isolation Ward and Intensive Care Unit and expand the piped oxygen to the whole hospital.
“COVID 19 has made clear the critical need of large amounts of oxygen which cannot be adequately supplied by the ordinary gas bottle. Therefore, the Government will install five thousand (5 000) to ten thousand (10 000) kg gas tanks at all district and general hospitals. As we embark in the infrastructure development we are being futuristic as we come up with facilities which will be relevant in 2030 and beyond,” said Dr Chiwenga.
Ambulances are a critical in transporting patients involved in road traffic accidents or from one health facility to another either by air or land needs to be efficient. Terrain plays a pivotal role in determining the type of ambulance to be used where mountainous areas needs air ambulances to expeditiously evacuate people in crisis scenarios.
“My Ministry has embarked on a programme to expand ambulance services to include air transport. This will greatly assist in a province like Manicaland which has a typical mountainous terrain,” said VP Chiwenga.
The pointers made by VP Chiwenga during this visit will be done at all health facilities across the country thereby transforming the country’s health delivery system towards attainment of Vision 2030.