By Itai Muzondo
MVUMA, October 22, 2015 – Mvuma District Hospital in the Midlands Province is currently functioning with its theatre closed, a development that has reportedly led to loss of lives since its closure five years ago, Radio VOP can reveal.
Complaining residents urged government to see to it that the theatre is reopened and functioning in full swing so as to help save lives at the district’s biggest hospital.
“Having seen my niece loose her life on her way to alternative Gweru Provincial hospital did not go well to me. I was surprised to learn at that particular moment that the theatre at the hospital was closed to no valuable reason. It is disturbing and government should really do something to revamp operations of this theatre so as to serve lives in times of emergency where possible,” said worried resident Mavis Mupfiga.
“Initially, we were told the hospital cannot conduct surgery here since we had no doctor. We were glad that besides his challenges as a parliamentarian, Edwin Muguti as MP for this area recognized the need of a doctor at the hospital which had run without a resident doctor since independence and we saw doctors coming to work at the hospital.
“Our worry now is that the theatre has not been functional and the current crop of leaders has neither attended to the problem nor promised to revamp the non-functional theatre. We are worried especially when we face critical situations that need urgent surgery. Government should swiftly act to amend this anomaly,” added another worried resident, Ndakaziva Mapiye.
“I recently lost a friend who had become more of a sister to me, Linah Nyuke to a pregnancy emergency which and it was a painful experience to me. As she arrived to the hospital, the doctor suggested that she be transferred to Gweru Provincial Hospital for surgery as if our own hospital has no theatre.
“It was however too late when she arrived to Gweru provincial Hospital as attendants at the referral hospital said she had already lost a lot of blood, and sadly, we lost her. The theatre at this hospital should really be revamped to serve lives,” said another concerned resident, Raymond Ndanga.
Gweru and Mvuma Hospital staff members who spoke on conditions of anonymity said the mishaps being experienced because of the non-functional theatre are so many and urged responsible authorities to prioritise good health facilities for the locals.
“The situation is disturbing. As a nurse, it is painful to continuously see patients, some of them you know from the community losing lives due to the lack major facilities. The theatre closed five years ago due to dilapidated and lack of adequate facilities to conduct surgeries, and many casualties are referred to the Roman Catholic-run Muonde Hospital with many cases being referred 80km away to Gweru General Hospital,” said a nurse working at Mvuma District Hospital.
“Some of the major casualties we receive are accidents and pregnancies. It is difficult to serve lives in extreme cases because it will be too late in most times. As health workers, we believe it is better if major casualties are dealt with earlier than prioritising transfers which are usually an hour or more away. Time is very precious in this field considering the fact that a life lost can never be recovered,” added a Gweru based medical doctor.
Midlands Provincial Medical Director, Dr Milton Chemhuru however sounded very worried and concerned about the closure of the theatre and said he is working tirelessly to make sure that the theatre is functional.
“Having Mvuma District Hospital theatre opened is one of our major priorities as a ministry. We are actually worried from the fact that fail to conduct operations while they have a theatre. It is a big hospital and serving the general populace at District level, so it should really be re-opened and we are working on that,” said Dr Chemhuru.
Meanwhile, Southern Eye newspaper recently reported that the dilapidated conditions of Midlands Province health centres saw Silobela District Hospital turning some of its wards into staff quarters as part of efforts to address its accommodation crisis.