The Sunday News

MPILO Central Hospital is of strategic importance in the country’s health sector not only in Bulawayo where it is domiciled and its surroundings but to the southern part of the country as it is also a referral health institution for the people of Midlands and Masvingo provinces. 

An ill-equipped and non-functioning Mpilo brings with it disastrous consequences in terms of the country’s health delivery system to the habitants of the country’s five provinces namely Bulawayo itself, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.

It is common knowledge that the country’s health delivery system like other sectors of the economy is also facing challenges in the form equipment, brain drain and supplies of provisions such as drugs. 

Faced with such a scenario, it is only logical that those tasked with running such strategic institutions should be innovative and stop waiting for heavens to open up and hand down all the necessities needed to see the wheels of the health sector rolling.

It is important to note that our institutions, although groaning under the weight of such challenges, are coming up with partnerships that will see the upgrading of the existing infrastructure and also bring in experts whose knowledge will go a long way in modernising our facilities.

We were therefore, thrilled to learn that Mpilo Central Hospital is set to have a special bone and ligament clinic for people living with disabilities and victims of road accidents. 

This is after a team of orthopaedic surgeons from Austria expressed an interest in setting up the facility at the hospital. 

According to a story carried in our sister paper, Chronicle on Friday last week, the surgeons intend to run two clinics annually where they will conduct surgeries on accident victims and also on people born with disabilities that can be corrected through surgery.

According to Mpilo Clinical Director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya the doctors were already working on the logistics and registration paper work that will enable them to work in Zimbabwe. 

Their services will be free. 

 We take this time to applaud the efforts of those running Mpilo for such a positive development.

This is because we believe this initiative did not just fall from Heaven like manna but they also played a role in convincing this philanthropic team of surgeons that Mpilo is the right place where they can set up such a type of clinic. It goes without saying that indeed with positive minds, opportunities can also be created, where they apparently do not seem to exist.

The importance of such a development cannot be over-emphasised, this is a God-given opportunity and a milestone in our health services sector. 

We say so because time and again we have read heart-rending stories of our people appealing for assistance from well-wishers as they could not afford implants or ligament corrective surgery.

Those lucky enough have been flying out of the country to seek specialist treatment for such cases in countries such as India and South Africa in the process taking with them the much-needed foreign currency.

In this economic environment, very few ordinary families could afford the kind of monies needed for specialist operations. 

Private hospitals have become a reserve of those with deep pockets and equipping public hospitals with requisite infrastructure is the only way to go.

Recently a family said they were told they had an option of moving their patient to a private hospital and get the operation done in no time but were charged over US$10 000 which they could not afford.

Another family also said they were charged US$3 000 for the treatment of their relative and they equally could not afford and were now stuck at UBH. Such cases should worry the Government and all stakeholders in the public health delivery system as people are dying, not because they have conditions that cannot be cured, but because they have no money and the public hospitals have no equipment.

We therefore, agree with Dr Ngwenya that the hospital needed such special equipment surgery and skills to deal with disability and that the skills exchange that will happen when the Austrian doctors train Mpilo staff will help them to deal with disability and specialised surgery.

Such initiatives go a long way in addressing the needs of an expectant population. 

The welfare of and health of our people should be a priority, was it not the late South African President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who once said: “Our nation’s greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.” 

Such words of wisdom have no boundaries. 

It is crucial that those tasked with looking after the lives of the people keep their eyes on the ball.