By Rumbidzai Audrey Marime
With 12 babies born and no recorded deaths, the new maternity wing at Fumugwe Clinic is already contributing greatly to the well-being of the community.
Walking nearly 30 kilometers to the nearest clinic was a constant struggle for community members in Fumugwe, Ward 18, often resulting in dire consequences for the ill, sometimes even death.
The Health Care Policy of Zimbabwe stipulates that citizens should not walk more than five kilometers to access the nearest health facility. However, the community of Fumugwe existed without options, walking between 22 to 32 kilometers to the nearest clinic. According to the District Nursing Officer, Mr R. Sibanda, home births were the norm in the community, resulting in more neonatal and maternal infections, with some succumbing to delivery or death in transit. Simple infections or snake bites that are treatable would often escalate into more serious diagnoses due to the time it took to reach treatment.
It has indeed been a long and painful journey but finally we can be proud of the outcome
“I am excited to witness the opening of this Clinic finally and have even brought out my new suit! It has been indeed a long and painful journey but finally we can be proud of the outcome” said Mr Moyo, one of the builders of the clinic. The proposal to construct Fumugwe Clinic was approved in 1997, with the first block eventually being erected in 2015 through funds and materials mobilized by members of Fumugwe Community in the diaspora. However, there was still much to be done to ensure a functional and efficient health care facility with basic necessities, including a functional water and solar system.
During an assessment for an Area Development Programme conducted by World Vision in 2015, the huge gap in access to health care was realised, prompting the organization, supported by funding from World Vision Switzerland, to assist. World Vision worked to construct a maternity block and a ceiling for the clinic and staff quarters. They also supported the installation of a piped water system for the clinic, as well as the school and nearby community, plumbing for all the health facility buildings, and painting, as well as tiling. Upon completion of the clinic, World Vision also provided furniture, fittings and materials, making a total contribution of USD60 656.84.
World Vision was a real big brother to the establishment of this clinic
“World Vision was a real big brother to the establishment of this clinic,” stated Mr Sibanda (CEO for Matobo Rural District). He went on to praise the level of unity and collaboration that was exhibited in the construction of the clinic, mentioning the additional roles played by the Rural District Council, members of Fumugwe community in the diaspora, Fambidzanai (a local NGO) and the Ministry of Health.
“What we are witnessing today, is a result of unity. We are very appreciative of World Vision’s support in pulling this initiative together and I would also like to thank members of Fumugwe in the diaspora who have remembered that no matter where you are home is home,” stated Honourable Abednego Ncube (Minister of State and Provincial Affairs for Matebeleland South), who was the Guest of Honour invited to commission Fumugwe Clinic. The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Honourable Edgar Moyo, was also in attendance and echoed the Vision 2030 initiative, which emphasizes on the importance of healthy communities.
World Vision was well represented by the Integrated Operations Director, Khumbulani Ndlovu and his team, ensuring the event was a success and strong partnerships continued to be nurtured. Fumugwe Clinic will serve to benefit more than 2000 people directly through access to health care, a piped water system and increased business to entrepreneurs. 5000 people from neighbouring communities will also benefit indirectly. What makes the story of Fumugwe Clinic inspiring is that it stands as a shining example of the fruit born out of collaboration and unity.