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Residential Care Providers Send Distress Calls

MUTARE- Custodians at the two main residential homes which cares for the elderly and children have made a desperate appeal for assistance saying they are overwhelmed by the Coronavirus induced national lockdown.

Officials at Sakubva Old Peoples Home and Sakubva Christian Caring Trust (Children’s Home) told journalists during a tour organized by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) that they are now failing to meet the needs of their patrons.

The two facilities are providing assistance to at least 160 vulnerable children and the elderly, providing food, shelter and medical services to the most vulnerable, and officials have said they are failing to cope.

Gondai Gondo administrator at the Old People’s Home, said they are faced with an untenable situation emanating from the Coronavirus where they are failing to access help from traditional donors.

He said Coronavirus induced pressures have led to shortages of foodstuffs, medication and general supplies, as traditional donors are under lockdown.

“The coming of Coronavirus has had a negative impact of our operations. Firstly this has affected the elderly who we are taking care of psychologically, they are failing to grasp the reality of the virus and feel neglected by the outside world.

“Secondly we are now overwhelmed because we don’t have enough medication for our residents here who suffer from various ailments including High Blood Pressure, Heart problems, Arthritis and other a disease which attack the elderly.

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“We procure medication on our own from funds donated to us by well-wishers, but with the coming of Covid those benefactors are closed out and we are closed inside.

“We still need that support in terms of PPE because we have nurse aids and a visiting physician who attends to the elderly when there is so all these staffers need protection and we need support for this,” said Gondo.

At the Children’s Home officials also spoke from the same script stressing the need for more corporate, community and government support to help them meet demand for food by vulnerable children.

Priscilla Mwedziwashe, the lead care provider at Sakubva Christian Caring Trust, said they are forced to turn away starving children as the can only currently feed 150 vulnerable children who are their books.

She said the children are specially selected from the community, through a rigorous vetting exercise which includes home visits to ascertain the need for assistance.

Mwedziwashe said following the declaration of the lockdown the Centre has been overwhelmed by children in need of assistance, as most parents who are work in the informal sector are now struggling to provide.

The Centre provides food (one meal a day), caters for primary education tuition, and basic sanitation for orphans, homeless children and minors under care of chronically ill parents or extremely vulnerable families.

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“We are turning away children since the lockdown started the numbers have been increasing. Unfortunately we can only provide a meal a day to 150 children, assist them with basic fees payment for them to attend school.

“So we are mainly focusing on health, food and school for those that are selected. In our selection we vet prospects through site visits to physically assess the need of the children.

“We are appealing to government, churches and even families to chip in and assist us during these difficult times, we need every cent that we can get, every grain that someone can provide will assist these vulnerable children,” said Mwedziwashe.

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