BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
A ZIMBABWEAN woman, Susan Vivian Mutami, was last night honoured in Australia for her contribution to that country’s healthcare system.
Mutami was named among Australia’s 100 Women of Influence for coming up with innovative health initiatives that were adopted by the Australian government to help improve the lives of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in urban, rural and remote parts of that country.
In an interview with NewsDay from her Sydney base, Mutami said she was happy to be making an impact after the Australian government adopted her initiative to establish state of the art and fully-equipped mobile hospitals with beds and manned by nurses, doctors and other health professionals.
Mutami started planning for the project last year and engineers helped her design the special moving hospitals and also digitalising everything on board.
“The moving hospitals are basically fully-fledged hospitals on wheels that have all medical personnel on board from doctors, nurses and physiotherapists,” she said.
“We work hand in hand with the Royal flying doctor service of Australia which is one of the largest aero medical organisations in the world that has a total of 71 aircraft that cover the length and breadth of the country’s rural, remote and regional parts of Australia.”
Mutami added. “The moving hospitals were specifically designed for the outback terrain. I came up with the idea after my research found out there was high infant mortality rate of indigenous Australians (child death 153,6 per 100 000) as compared to non-indigenous (73,2 deaths per 100 000).”
The Australian Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steve Miles, commended Mutami’s healthcare initiative.
Mutami said to improve the healthcare system in Zimbabwe, there was need for the Health ministry to be properly restructured.
“There is need for sector reform in the pharmaceutical industry to allow local pharmaceutical industries to manufacture medicines locally. More emphasis on the ministry must be towards prevention because in Zimbabwe there is an increase in non-communicable diseases. There should be more awareness campaigns and education,” she said.
The Kwekwe-born Mutami is a holder a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree (Security and Counter Terrorism) and a Bachelor of Nursing degree.
Last year, Mutami was also recognised at the prestigious Australian CEO magazine Executive of the Year Awards for her contribution to the country’s healthcare system, becoming the first black African to receive the gong.