Health care seekers complain over poor service at Victoria Falls hospital

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

Victoria Falls: People seeking primary health care at Victoria Falls Hospital have expressed concern at the slow service delivery at the facility owing to limited hours they are attended to because of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

The hospital acts as a referral for areas in the whole of Hwange West constituency covering the resort town and villages around Monde, Jambezi, Chisuma, Sidobe, Ndlovu, Jambezi, Woodlands and Matetsi.

The hospital used to open its gates to the public at 7.30am but now health seekers are only allowed to enter around 9am. observed during the course of the week that each morning was characterised by long queues of about 30 to 40 people waiting to be allowed into the hospital premises for various services.

Some are pregnant women, with some being new mothers seeking healthcare for their newly born babies while others are seeking treatment for various ailments.

Only those visiting the sick were being allowed in at 7am.

Those who spoke to this publication said they were concerned over how attention was being given to Covid-19 activities at the expense of other health related needs.

“I have a new baby and have to take her for seven days check-up but have been in the queue since 7am.

“Now it’s almost 9am and they have not started attending to us. Last time when I was here for three days check up again, we spent 30 minutes just being cleared at the gate before queuing for the actual service inside,” said Norah Mudenda of Mkhosana.

Shamiso Tembo, a pregnant young woman from Jambezi said, “It’s difficult for us who are expecting. We are being kept in the queue for more than an hour and that’s tiresome.

“It would have been better if we were queuing inside the hospital not just to be checked for temperature and sanitised for Covid-19.

“At this stage, I can’t continue going to Jambezi Clinic because I am almost due and I have to be checked at the hospital.”

Even those visiting for daily sputum take for TB screening are affected.

With Hwange having no district hospital, Victoria Falls Hospital is the sole referral for Chisuma, Ndlovu and Jambezi clinics which are the only ones in the constituency.

Victoria Falls, Hwange Colliery and St Patricks’ Hospital are the three major health facilities in the district.

5 Miles Hospital in Hwange which was supposed to be a district hospital was condemned two years ago before it could be officially used because of the substandard construction work by the contractors.

It had taken more than 10 years to construct and now efforts are being made to renovate the cracked walls and floors which made health officials condemn it.

The Covid-19 taskforce identified the idle 5 Miles Hospital as an isolation centre.

Hwange District Medical Officer, Fungai Musinami recently said plans were underway to hunt for partners towards upgrading of Victoria Falls Hospital into a district hospital.