Discontentment Over Dilapidated Clinic

Residents of the Muyako area in the Katima Rural constituency in the Zambezi Region are unhappy with the dilapidated state of the community clinic built by the government.

Most of the clinic is in a dilapidated state and has no accommodation for its sole nurse, who has to travel a long distance to and from work everyday and because of that the clinic is often closed leaving scores of patients unattended. Last week members of the community threatened to stage a protest following the sudden absence of the nurse at the clinic. The only nurse at the clinic is said to be commuting every day from Bukalo, about 20 kilometres away. The planned protest action prompted the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi to visit the clinic last week Friday to listen to the grievances of the community. Although there was no protest during Kamwi’s visit, he reassured the community saying the government plans to renovate all existing structures through its contingency fund as an interim measure, while waiting for financial resources to erect permanent structures. “I received a call last week that the community wanted to demonstrate. Yesterday I received the same call again. Here I am but I don’t see anybody. We were already in the process of renovating the existing structures as a temporary measure, while we wait for resources. It’s not only Muyako, but also Ibbu and Lusese,” the health minister explained. We have to find a place to operate from during the time of renovations,” he said. Renovations on the clinic and plans to provide accommodation to the nurse started last year already, but had to be put on hold because the procedures for awarding the renovation tender were flawed. A new contractor has since been awarded the work which is expected to be completed within the next three months.

“In government work has to be done procedurally. You have to get three quotations and consider the lowest as per requirement. “Unfortunately I did not come here to resolve the problem of the tender. It’s not part of my visit. We have a new contractor coming here [this] week. The clinic has to be renovated as soon as possible,” he said. Kamwi also appealed to the community to desist from engaging in what he termed counter- productive measure such as demonstrations saying the provision of primary health care is a shared responsibility.

“There’s no need for a demonstration. The director has to be consulted. She does not work in isolation. Primary health care involves the community,” Kamwi said. One member of the Muyako community Ret. Brigadier Gallen Kolokwe pledged to provide accommodation to the nurse for the duration of the renovations. Kamwi further urged the directorate of health to second one more nurse to the clinic. Muyako has a population of just over 2 000.

Source : New Era