GROUP of community members, among them businesspeople operating under the banner Friends of Beitbridge Hospital has undertaken to service most of the obsolete medical equipment including ambulances and service vehicles at Beitbridge District Hospital.
They have since handed over a repaired Mazda B2200 ambulance to the District Civil Protection Unit, which was fixed at a cost of R13 000.
The hospital, among other issues, is short of service vehicles and ambulances, which has seen the institution relying on one vehicle to service the 250 000 population and an additional 13 000 transiting through the town daily.
Friends of Beitbridge Hospital spokesperson Mr Nqobile Ncube said yesterday that they decided to come together with community leaders and businesspeople to help restore quality health services at the 140-bed institution.
He said they were targeting to raise R200 000 within three months which is required to fix five ambulances and three service vehicles which are grounded.
“We are concerned with the plight of community members in our area and hence we are having a series of fundraising activities to bring back eight roadworthy vehicles at our hospital,” said Mr Ncube.
“We are having a series of fundraising activities to raise a total of R200 000 which will be enough to fix these vehicles. Our plan is to first attend to the transport issues within three months before we can move on to other necessities at this institution.”
He appealed to other community members to rally behind the initiative that will gradually improve health services in the district based on home-grown solutions at grassroots level.
Mr Ncube said those willing to assist the institution may contact the committee’s treasurer, Mr Peter Zvenyika, at Border Service Station.
“We greatly appreciate the help we are getting from corporates, individuals and other community leaders.
“We have put together a proper accounting system to ensure that everything we receive is committed solely to its intended use,” he said.
The District Medical Officer, Dr Lenos Samhere told the Matabeleland South Civil Protection Committee recently that there was an urgent need to review the state of affairs.
He said the institution was operating with a 1980 staff establishment which has resulted in human and material resources to cater for patients being overstretched due to its location in Sadc and country’s busiest port of entry and increased annual population growth.
The Civil Protection Committee led by then Provincial Development Co-ordinator, Mrs Sithandiwe Ncube had visited the border town to assess the state of affairs of selected facilities to handle Covid-19 related cases.
“We appreciate the Government’s efforts to increase resources and staff to the hospital during this period where we are all focusing on containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Samhere.
“However, the hospital is strained in terms of resources due to the increased demand for services and its location in a transit town. You will note that we are having an old staff establishment model which has not been reviewed for some time.
“Our nurses and doctors are being overstretched because we don’t only deal with the local populations, but we have those in transit and those from neighbouring districts”.
He said the hospital handles an average of 350 deliveries monthly which is more than what Gwanda Provincial Hospital and other district hospitals are handling.
“We are in the range of major referral centres like the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH),” said Dr Samhere.
He said the status quo at the district hospital was also affecting resource allocation from the national Government.
The official appealed to the Civil Protection Committee to push for the upgrading of the institution and allocation of more resources in line with obtaining demands.
Dr Samhere said their staff was also facing serious accommodation challenges due to limited space at their few allocated houses.