Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
THREE Bulawayo Central Hospitals have received a major boost from Anju Prison Farm which has committed to supply the health institutions with free vegetables.
Mpilo Central Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospitals and Ingutsheni Central Hospital will benefit from the gesture by the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services-run Anju Prison Farm in Nyamandlovu.
The three hospitals cater for patients from the Southern Region of the country which covers Bulawayo, Masvingo, Midlands and the Matabeleland Provinces.
Ingutsheni caters for mental patients and does not charge for its services. The institution depends entirely on the Government’s budgetary allocation for its recurrent expenditure.
Hospital authorities have on several occasions appealed for donations from well-wishers to meet for the needs of mental patients at the institution.
Anju Prison Farm which has 83 inmates has a 203-hectare farm which is irrigated. The farm grows several types of vegetables which feed inmates in Matebeleland North and Bulawayo Provinces.
The farm sells part of its products in Bulawayo on a commercial basis to raise money to keep the farm in the running.
ZPCS Officer Commanding Matabeleland North province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Moddie Nkomo said hospitals play a critical role in society hence they need to be supported by all stakeholders to fulfil their mandate.
“Just like us hospitals have an important role to play in society. They cater for our health when we are not well. So, as an institution we decided to say since we are producing so many vegetables we could support you with relish,” she said.
Snr Asst Com Nkomo said the ZPCS-run farm produces more than they require and even after supplying Bulawayo and Matabelelend North Prisons they still remain with plenty of vegetables.
“We don’t want to see patients dying of hunger. We are even drying our vegetables because we have plenty. We feed four prisons in Khami under Bulawayo Province and our prisons which are in Nkayi, Binga, Tsholotsho, Hwange and Lupane but we thought to extend our hand to you as well,” she said.
She promised to put 3 hectares of sugar beans and add fish supply for the three health institutions at the farm so that the patients get a balanced diet.
Under the arrangement the three institutions will be collecting vegetables at the farm every Thursday for an indefinite period.
Speaking on behalf of the three hospitals, Mpilo Central Hospital acting public relations Officer Mr Ozias Ndlovu hailed the gesture by ZPCS.
“We are very grateful for the gesture; we did not know that you are doing farming at this big scale, you are serving the nation. This will help us save a lot of money as we will no longer be buying vegetables for our patients,” said Mr Ndlovu. — @themkhust_ncube