Having been built in the 1930s, Nyajena Rural Hospital has not seen major developments to match modern hospital standards despite having a large catchment area and the absence of mortuary, ambulance and a resident doctor is among chief problems facing the institution.
The hospital serves the whole of Chief Nyajena area which encompasses Masvingo South Constituency and part of Masvingo Central which is under Chief Shumba.
The hospital’s catchment area stretches across Mutirikwi River in the northern side to Majiri area and to eastern side it goes into Zaka District where people from areas like Musenyereki, Mushaya, Mudzara and Charingeno areas.
The hospital is a referral centre for a number of clinics like Musvovi, Guwa, Chisase and Mushaya and will soon have two more clinics that is Mavizhu and Makoho which are under construction.
Influential legislators like the famous Edson Zvobgo and his successor Walter Mzembi did little or nothing to improve the health institution though they have been at the helm of key ministries.
During his initial campaign stages around 2005, Mzembi promised to provide transport and allowances for a doctor to commute from Masvingo town to the hospital while a doctor’s house was being constructed.
However, having served as minister in different ministries for more than 10years until his ouster in the 2017 coup, Mzembi failed to own up to his promise.
The hospital has been running without a mortuary for more than four decades with the one that was there said to have been closed down in the 70s because there was no electricity and was later connected in the 90s.
The situation has proven to be harder for the locals who were forced to bury their relatives within a short period.
The alternative is to liase with the Renco Mine authorities to use their morgue or use the Masvingo Provincial Hospital mortuary.
The doctor problem at the institution is being mitigated by the Community Based Aid Programme (CBAP) which brings in doctors on regular basis to attend to critical cases.
The doctors under the CBAP outreach programme also visits other local clinics, a development that has helped to saved money and time for people and also eased pressure for Nyajena Hospital staff.
CBAP has been providing medical supplies to the Nyajena Hospital for a long time through its other programmes like the Home Based Care (HBC) mainly related to HIV and AIDS.
CBAP Director Samuel Mhungu said if resources permits they would want to facilitate for a resident doctor to be stationed at the hospital.
“If we get resources, we would want to make sure that there is a resident doctor here. Currently we only afford to bring the doctor on monthly basis and we would want to do more for the community if we get more resources,” said Mhungu.
Ward 25 councillor Livison Mudzonga, whose area covers the area right round Renco Mine, told TellZim News that the institution was a referral for a number of clinics in the area but had no requisite facilities for it to perform its role as a referral hospital.
Mudzonga sung praises for the local legislator Claudious Maronge whom he said helped them to get help from Renco Mine which in turn provided material for the construction of a mortuary which is now at window level.
“We have a better legislator now who facilitated for us to get help from Renco Mine which provided building material for our mortuary which is at window level and we as the community provide labor,” Mudzonga.
He went on to say that the mine authorities promised to provide material for fully equipped admission wards as the hospital currently has small wards which accommodate few patients and have old beds and worn out mattresses.
Mudzonga lamented the state of the road and Tetenu river bridge, which is about 300 metres from the health institution, which links people from Ward 23, Mushawasha and Majiri with the hospital saying a number of people have died failing to cross the bridge to the clinic during the rainy season because the bridge is too low and the road is damaged.
“People have died and babies have been delivered just a few hundred meters away from the hospital after failing to cross the bridge because it gets flooded during the rainy season. The road is also damaged that it becomes difficult to rush critical patients in public vehicles,” said Mudzonga.
Mudzonga said the hospital needed a standby ambulance to ferry critical patience to Masvingo and said a lot of lives have been lost while people were waiting for an ambulance from Masvingo.