Bulawayo residents have been granted free basic medical care at a time when some of the medical practitioners in country’s major referral hospitals are on strike over low salaries.
The absence of doctors and nurses owing to ‘incapacitation’ at government health institutions has resulted in widespread suffering of citizens who depend on such facilities as they cannot afford to visit private doctors.
The free basic medical care is a citizens’ initiative where willing doctors come and attend to people.
This service will run between November 20 and 23 at Cowdray Park Terminus where all those needing medical attention can be examined by doctors free of charge.
The initiative caters for children below the age of 10 years and elders above 60 years.
Wellington Mahohona, a member of the citizens’ initiative, told CITE that to date – US$5 000 was raised through an online fundraising platform – GoFundMe, set up for the initiative.
Mahohona said calls have been coming in from across the country where people from as far as Binga and Chipinge have been requesting for similar initiatives.
“The money we gathered so far will be used to foot medication bills for those who cannot afford. We realise that most pharmacies are charging for medication in forex and most citizens are unable to buy,” he said.
He noted that response received from people was tremendous.
“We just realised there are a lot of people who need medical assistance. Since the beginning of the doctors’ strikes, people have been greatly suffering. This exercise gives them an opportunity to access health care.
“When Freeman Chari and I started this initiative we thought it would be limited to Harare and Bulawayo but there are a lot of people who need this kind of assistance.”
Mahohona said this initiative is a first trial and further appealed to members of the public to pour in more funds, as well as doctors and nurses who were available to volunteer.
“So far, 57 people were treated Tuesday in Cowdray Park and we expect to see more people trickling in these coming days,” he said.
“There are four doctors and several nurses on standby. We understand that doctors are very busy people as some of them have their own surgeries to run so we are grateful to the ones who have volunteered, making time for this noble cause.”
Mahohona implored on other doctors to avail facilities where more people could be treated from.
He also urged members of the public to make donations and assist others in this initiative, whose money would help the sick buy medication.