Gawa Villagers appeal for resources to complete clinic project

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…they are missing out on covid-19 vaccines

Perseverance Javagwe

Villagers from Gawa in Gokwe South are appealing for assistance from government, development partners and other key stakeholders with resources towards  the completion of the clinic project which has been unfinished since 2016.

 

Gawa Clinic under construction since 2016, amid fears of theft of building material

The marginalized villagers are being forced to travel long distances which are more costly to access medical assistance. Some of the villagers who spoke with this publication revealed that there are some women who are now going in labor while at home because the cost to traveling to other clinics is unbearable for them.

The building of the clinic which is close to these villagers started in 2016 with the help of the former legislator but since she lost her seat in the last elections nothing has been done to complete the clinic. This has resulted in many villagers missing out on important medications including the covid-19 vaccines.

“It was built in 2016 but the MP who spearheaded the project  left the seat in 2018. Since then, nothing has happened to finish it. We wish to get help from any well-wishers so that patients can be attended to hear,” said one villager.

“Our clinic has been like this since 2016. We have challenges here because we travel long distances to clinics going for 20km or more. We are also being left out on vaccination of covid-19 because we have no access to a nearest clinic. At times as villagers we are asked to contribute amounts of US$1.00 or US$0.50 per person every month to finish this project but nothing has materialized yet. We are not even given feedback on how the money we contributed has been used. So we are appeal to the government to assist us so that this project can be finished in time allowing us to get treatment because there are people who get sick in our community and some die without getting medical assistance. Some do not have money to travel to Gokwe for medical assistance so we are asking the government to help us. The MP who kick started this project is no longer there and the one elected in 2018 did not continue with the project,” said Gibson Mhaka.

Gawa businessman Hebert Mugwedere revealed that the former legislator bought the equipment that was needed to finish the clinic but it is not clear who personalized the equipment and this has affected villagers in this area who are now being forced to travel long distances to access health services.

“When Mhangami spoke with us back then she said she had provided every material needed to complete the project so we do not know what transpired and we do not know where the equipment bought was placed. But now we are asked to pay US$0.50 per month to finish the clinic and I do not think the money that we are contributing is even sufficient to finish the whole thing. So far nothing has materialized, and now for us to get covid vaccination we have to travel to Gokwe Center and we need US$4.00 for transport which many of us cannot afford. Some travel to Nyaradza or Mateta 2 where it cost US$2.00 to go there.

“So imagine if I want to go with my family that means I have to pay a lot of money. As a businessman maybe I can make a plan and do something about it but what about those here who cannot afford, it becomes difficult for them. We appeal for help from well-wishers and the government to intervene and assist us so that this nearest clinic can be completed. The change in the MP stopped the progress of this project. We have challenges and we call for help,” said Hebert Mugwedere.

Ronica Nhende and Ruth Moyo who are young mothers spoke on the importance of having a close clinic so that it becomes easier for pregnant women to access maternal health services and other services for their infants.

“As young mothers it is difficult for us when we get pregnant because our clinics are very far. We need around US$5.00 to get to the nearest clinic. Most women go into labor in their homes because we cannot afford to pay the traveling expenses to the clinics. Now we are travelling close to 10km to access the covid-19 jab which is too long for us. Even the injections for our infants, we are not able to do that because the distance is costly right now we are contributing monthly amounts towards the construction of the clinic but we do not see any progress here, I think these people are taking us for fools,” said Nhende.

“We appeal to the government or well-wishers to help us finish our clinic. Most of us as young mothers are dying in labor at homes because the distance to the nearest clinic is too much. Even to access covid-19 vaccinations is a challenge because the distance is too much, sometimes when we travel that long looking for the vaccination we are told there is no vaccination. Imagine the distances that we travel only to be told that the vaccination is not there,” said Moyo.

Bekezela Chikukutu said that if they can get assistance in completing the clinic it will be close and accessible to most villagers including school children.

“Our wish is that the government intervenes and help us so that this clinic can be completed. Since 2016 it has been like this. This clinic if completed will be closest to most villagers here in Gawa. It also has an advantage that it is situated close to the school so if the children and teachers get sick they can get easy access to a healthy facilities. We hope and pray that the government and other well-wishers will help us on this project,” he said.

Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD), Gokwe South Coordinator for UDACIZA Bishop Edmond Munengiwa revealed that there was alleged misuse or abuse of resources for the completion of the clinic. He also shared the receipt which shows the material bought to complete the project but it is not known who kept the material. He appealed to well-wishers to intervene so that the clinic can help the Gawa community.

“Here in Gawa we have a challenge and all our church congregants are complaining about the clinic. In 2016, the then MP brought us all the necessary equipment to finish this clinic, 135bags of cement were brought here and the evidence is there to prove this but the clinic is still where it was back in 2016. We do not know maybe the cement was been kept somewhere. We appeal to those who can assist us to recover those bags of cement that were brought through the CDF funds. So if someone has kept the cement somewhere we need the cement so that it is used before it expires.

“If we check around, the clinic is developing cracks. Even the bricks are not even strong. So we appeal to those who can also help us with equipment to complete this clinic or even get recover the disappeared with no one knowing where they are kept. We need doors and window frames to complete this clinic so that the clinic can start functioning .As ZHOCD we wish to bring justice to our congregants,” Said Bishop Edmond Munengiwa.

ZHOCD Programs Officer Philemon Handinahama Hwami said there is need for authorities to intervene and help the Gawa community so that their health grievances are addressed.

“I am here in Gokwe South District at Gawa Shopping Center. We are talking in connection with the clinic and from what I hear from the community members the clinic was started in 2016 with material towards the construction of this structure donated through parliament by the former MP but unfortunately the structure is incomplete as you can see. But we are talking about issues of transparency and accountability. The whole programme we are doing here is to help the community identify where material for this clinic have gone because it has not been completed since 2016.

“Because people are saying they need to be vaccinated around for covid-19 in their locality. Pregnant women are having to travel long distances to get help and this clinic is supposed to address those pertinent issues related to health. We believe talking to the communities, we believe that there has been abuse and misuse of resources towards the construction of this clinic. It is our hope that through the discussions we are carrying out we will have this project completed for the benefit of the community especially women, children and the elderly because they are supposed to be getting health care services at this clinic. Unfortunately as you have heard from the previous speakers people are traveling long distances as far as 20km paying money and we are talking about poor communities here who should be getting health care services at this clinic. So we pray that development partners, government and all the other key stakeholders are going to help in finishing this clinic at Gawa shops in Gokwe South,” said Philemon Handinahama Hwami.

The issue of the incomplete Gawa Clinic in Gokwe South was revealed by community members during a Community Dialogue meeting organised by ZHOCD with support from Trocaire and EU.

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