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Shangani Rural District Hospital in shambles

A visit to the hospital revealed that the institution was in urgent need of capitalisation to ensure it delivers on its health care delivery mandate.

Expecting mothers are forced to sleep on the floors at Shangani Rural District Hospital where there is no functioning mortuary in a clear picture of the sorry state of affairs at the health institution.

The hospital is situated in Matabeleland South’s Insiza district. This publication was informed that bodies of the deceased are taken to as far as Bulawayo and Gweru because there is no mortuary.

A visit to the hospital revealed that the institution was in urgent need of capitalisation to ensure it delivers on its health care delivery mandate.

The mortuary doors were broken and were supported by stones. There were no signs of electricity connections.  Locals said the mortuary was used as a temporary storeroom for the deceased before their bodies are taken either to Bulawayo or Gweru.

The maternity ward has a few beds, forcing waiting mothers to sleep and deliver on the floor. On entering one of the offices at the hospital the Southern Eye on Sunday  crew noticed a bed was being used as an office table.

“The mortuary issue is affecting the community,” a local resident said.

“We don’t have a mortuary, it’s not working. Its state is very bad. This is a mining area and people die a lot here due to different reasons, but then we have no mortuary and no transport to ferry the bodies.”

Another woman said she opted to travel to Bulawayo to give birth after being told that there was no bed for her.

“I recall that  I went there when I wanted to give birth, but the situation was bad,” she said.

“One is pregnant and is supposed to sleep in such an environment...I then opted to go to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.

“How about mothers who do not have resources?”

She added: “We just wish we can get maybe a donor, who can maybe fix the mortuary, or provide mattresses or beds for the hospital."

Insiza ward 23 councillor  Nomusa Moyo said the hospital  was suffering from years of neglect and underfunding.

“This is a cause for concern to the leadership of Shangani ward 23 and the entire community," Moyo said.

Moyo said the mortuary was beyond repair.

“It needs a complete overhaul,” she said.

“People die here almost every day and their bodies are taken to Bulawayo or Gweru.

“To make matters worse there is no ambulance and some people willingly offer their cars to at least help carry the bodies to Gweru or Bulawayo."

Moyo said the hospital also has no incubator resulting in preventable deaths of premature babies.

“We don’t have a reliable ambulance to quickly transport premature babies to general hospitals like Bulawayo and Gweru,” she said.

“We wish we could have a fuel reserve or a fuel tanker at the hospital that will service the hospital.

 "All these concerns can only be solved if all stakeholders of ward 23 can speak with one voice to lobby the authorities concerned to equip Shangani Hospital."

She said the hospital services not only the Shangani community, but victims of accidents that occur along the Bulawayo -Harare road.

"We would love to have donations in cash or kind from non-governmental organisations and all Zimbabweans who can afford to assist ward 23 community,” she added.

Health and Child Care minister Douglas Mombeshora could not be reached for comment.

Underfunding is often blamed for the collapse of the country’s social services with the health sector being the hardest hit with no medication.

Last year, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced a $4,5 trillion budget with 11% going towards health.

However, health experts said budget allocation towards the provision of health care services was grossly inadequate.

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