A 45-kilometre journey from Nyanga to Bende Village in Nyanga South constituency can best be summed up as a nightmare. A 30 minutes journey on a normal road now takes approximately three hours due to the bad state of the road and has not been serviced for a very long time.
By Lovejoy Mutongwiza and Moses Matenga
For a new visitor to Nyanga, the road Bende village would be like a ‘No village ahead’ or a dead end road where one would never expect to see communities or people.
Motorists have to give chance each other a chance to overtake or cross bridges as the strip road can only accommodate one vehicle at a time.
Despite the poor state of their road, Bende people have something to smile at as they have the best health centre in Nyanga. The newly built clinic has been a life saver as it has helped them overcome high maternal mortality, malaria and other health related problems as they now get medical attention at their earliest convenience.
The Bende community, in the words of Headman Ziko has encountered health horrors that have seen many losing lives while pregnant women miscarried because they could not get immediate medical attention.
For a community that relied on one mobile clinic served by one nurse, the Bende village health post, albeit small, will save the community in a big way.
Malaria, a menace in that side of the country has been difficult to deal with as many succumbed to it due to non-availability of immediate health care is now under control, according to Bende villagers.
“People would walk for about 40 kilometres to the nearest clinic and along the way, others lost lives. We would create a makeshift stretcher bed and ferry people to the nearest clinic, walking past mountains,” Headman Ziko said.
“There are people who died here but their deaths could have been avoidable. They died because they had failed to access healthcare. I had an experience when my wife was pregnant and I had to carry her to the clinic which is far away. It was painful for me and I cried,” added Headman Ziko.
His sad tales were corroborated by scores of people in the community who said the coming in of the Bende village health post with two nurses available 24 hours a day was no joke.
Comfort Mataga, a villager, said the village health post, officially opened by Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa will go a long way in helping the community conveniently get health care services.
“We only had a mobile clinic where nurses came once in several months and it was like we were in a desert when it comes to health care. This gesture by our MP should be appreciated indeed,” he said.
Dr David Parirenyatwa said this was the first of 6600 plus village health posts in government’s countrywide vision of ensuring access to health for all communities.
He said the Bende project was the first of its kind as it was everyone’s right to have access to health care.
“We want to celebrate with those who have made this a success. God should bless those who made this possible. They have fulfilled my Ministry of Health dream that l always speak of that we need accessible community village health posts and this should go a long way. We have a dream to have 6 600 such village health posts. That is the aim and plan and the first is this one. We are proud of you and be proud of yourself,” he said.
Nyanga South Member of Parliament, Supa Mandiwanzira said it was his dream to leave a legacy as MP with tangible, life-changing projects such as the Bende village health post.
“No other MP in this constituency has done this. I want to be remembered for leaving something that changed people’s lives and something that will benefit you and your great grandchildren. We have four clinics we are building in this constituency. The first one is in Ward 18 Mapako which is almost complete. We have in Ward 22 that is where I come from. We have one in Spring Valley and we have several other projects as we value people’s health.”
He said the Bende village health post will be expanded as council availed bigger space that will allow for construction of a bigger building.
Nyanga District Medical Officer, Dr Admore Jokwiro, said the project will serve more than 3000 people in the Bende community.
“We will also have the Telemedicine facility that will see patients consulting health care givers via the internet. We appreciate the Bende village health post and I should say we need more like this,” he said.
“We have cases of people who died, people who miscarried on way to the nearest clinic while others delivered along the way and you know there are dangers. Lots of people also succumbed to Malaria and now this project will help in a long way.”