By Staff Reporter
The Save Our Hospitals Zimbabwe initiative that was announced last week, and convened by veteran journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono met yesterday for its inaugural meeting in Harare.
The group comprised of high-powered professionals from the worlds of legal, business, medical, church and media fraternities came together in order to try and arrest the rot in Zimbabwe’s public hospitals.
This was after the nation was captured by the emotional pleas of paediatrician and Head of Parirenyatwa Hospital paediatric department, Dr Azza Mashumba who broke down sobbing whilst explaining that she didn’t have any medicines to give to kids being treated in her department.
Dr Mashumba said that she was now coming to work to simply certify deaths of babies and that she didn’t have enough nurses.
The painful testimony by Dr Mashumba was a clear reflection of how the public health delivery system in Zimbabwe has broken down to a point where patients are being send home to die.
After the inaugural meeting of the Save Our Hospitals Zimbabwe initiative Hopewell Chin’ono issued the statement below:
Good evening everyone, I am back with the Save Our Hospitals Zimbabwe (SOHZ) feedback after the team’s inaugural meeting.
Today the Save Our Hospitals Zimbabwe (SOHZ) initiative held its inaugural meeting at the Anglican Cathedral in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Bishop Chad Gandiya chaired the meeting and in attendance were Beatrice Mtetwa, Dr Donald Mutangadura, Professor Rati Ndhlovu, Dr Charles Mazhude, Dr Solomon Guramatunhu, Ben Manyenyeni and Hopewell Chin’ono.
Dr Noah Madziva the Clinical Director of Parirenyatwa Hospital and Dr Christopher Pasi the Clinical Director of Harare Hospital represented the hospitals.
The other two SOHZ members, Professor Dixon Chibanda and Pindie Nyandoro were not able to attend as they are currently traveling outside of Zimbabwe.
It was agreed that the hospitals would submit their lists of urgently required medications and medical consumables to SOHZ tomorrow.
The lists will be made public in order for Zimbabwean citizens both home and abroad to see what they are willing and able to contribute towards.
It was also agreed that the hospitals would in the interim provide SOHZ and the public with the names of their medical drug suppliers out of Zimbabwe so that Zimbabweans both home and abroad can pay directly to the suppliers for drugs and consumables required by the hospitals.
The clinical directors requested the citizens to get in touch with them first regarding drugs and other consumables that they might want to donate that would not be on the provided lists.
This is for compliance purposes, so if you want to independently donate a specific drug or medical consumable, you must get in touch with the specific hospital where you want the donation to go, they will give you the nod if it falls within their compliance framework.
Independent donations outside the hospital lists should be directed to the specific hospital where you want them to go, and you should only ship them out after getting the hospital to do the required paperwork that includes the duty free rebate certificates.
A UK based freight forwarding company called Swiss Global has agreed to ship any goods out of the UK at cost.
It has offices in the UK, China and Zimbabwe.
It was also agreed that instead of sending money to Zimbabwe, citizens and friends of Zimbabwe abroad should assist in buying the required medicines and medical consumables that are cheaper in India and China and other places by wiring the money directly to the suppliers.
This will drastically reduce unnecessary movements of money and also reduce the cost of buying the medical drugs needed, a cost that is invariably cheaper outside the country.
This will also reduce the pressures of supervision on the part of SOHZ allowing it to focus on helping in the fund raising efforts.
These foreign based drug importations will be done in conjunction with the hospital, SOHZ will assist in smoothening the process and making sure that they have reached where they are required to go.
Local bank and mobile transfer accounts will be opened for citizens in Zimbabwe who want to donate in cash.
The money will only move from these accounts directly to suppliers of goods that would have been ordered by the hospitals.
It was also agreed that Zimbabweans abroad should organize themselves and form groups or associations that will facilitate the fundraising effort and the payment of drugs and medical consumables being procured in places like India, South Africa and China.
On the issue of other hospitals outside the big six central hospitals that are currently operating in emergency mode, it was agreed that Zimbabweans wanting to send goods to provincial and district hospitals should be able to do so under the auspices of SOHZ.
However we should bear in mind that when patients are seriously ill in a district or provincial hospital, they end up in one of the big 6 hospitals hence the importance of fixing them first.
In two weeks time we shall have Facebook and Twitter accounts that will be used for updates and any announcements.
We will also have an email address and a website in due course. Zimbabweans willing to assist in helping set up a website, please feel free to offer your services to this good cause for our hospitals
We will also be updating you here and via Nehanda Radio that has agreed to give us space for any such announcements as and when the need arises.
Zimbabweans living abroad if in doubt of anything please feel free to get in touch with me, write short and concise emails and send them to email@example.com
We are in the process of arranging other transport options for Zimbabweans in South Africa, the options will include road and air for sending any hospital drugs or medical consumables.
If you know of any companies or individuals willing to offer such services as a donation to this initiative, please direct them to us.
Please note that since today was an inaugural meeting, there is a lot of planning and work that needs to be done but that wont stop those that want to start the ball rolling from going ahead.
There are many Zimbabweans and friends of Zimbabwe who want to buy equipment for hospitals of their own choice within the group of six or beyond, please get in touch with the hospital clinical directors first to check on compliance regulations.
Harare Hospital: Dr Chris Pasi pasicbechr.co.zw
Parirenyatwa : Dr Noah Madziva firstname.lastname@example.org
Our hospitals have a lot of work to be done for instance Harare Hospital has two maternity theatres which were built in 1977 and unfortunately only one of them is working.
1400 babies are born at Harare Hospital every month and a third of them are born through caesarian operations.
You can then imagine the pressure that these 42-year-old maternity theatres would be under.
Our dream and desire is to fix what we can in order to make the lives of our people comfortable when they are using these public health facilities.
As part of the fundraising effort, I will be donating my documentary film State of Mind to this cause, I will post the screening dates once I have concluded talks with a movie house that has cinemas in Harare and Bulawayo.
All the proceeds from this film’s screenings in Harare and Bulawayo will go towards mental health drugs for Harare and Ingutsheni Hospitals and also towards repairing the damaged CCTV equipment in the psychiatric unit at Harare Hospital.
Thank you once more for the thousands of messages on social media, emails and Whatsapp in support of this cause.
Together we can make this work, it is a non partisan initiative that will help our people regardless of party politics.
We must all feel comfortable to use our public facilities, let us fix them together.