The Sunday Mail
Desire Ncube Recently at Bonda Hospital —
A referral hospital, by definition, is an institution that is supposed to provide medical, surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured people but the opposite is true for the Anglican-run Bonda Mission in Mutasa district, Manicaland.
The delivery of health services at the hospital has been crippled by dilapidated old equipment, serious shortage of drugs and nursing staff and unavailability of a blood bank which is critical at a referral hospital, among many other hindrances.
The Government has announced that women should not die due to loss of blood, especially during delivery. But this is proving to be a herculean task for Bonda Mission Hospital as they store their blood at Nyanga District Hospital, more than 50 kilometers away from the hospital.
Bonda Hospital is facing challenges at a time when the Anglican Church diocese of Manicaland is embroiled in a nasty fight that is affecting the operations of the church. Last month, the church axed 26 congregants over allegations of causing divisions and violence in the church.
The chaos, which has since spilled into the courts, is threatening to tear the already fragile Anglican Church. The church was in the limelight in recent years over fights by ex-communicated Bishop Elson Jakazi over control of the Manicaland assets.
The hospital is operating without proper medical sundries that include general surgical instruments, an incinerator (an apparatus used to burn waste) that broke down around 2012 and there is an acute shortage of staff, according to hospital officials.
However, an official from the Anglican church, Mr Ashel Mutingura, distanced the hospital problems from the fights that are happening in the diocese. He said other church institutions such as schools are performing well in the diocese.
“We are aware and we are very worried about what is happening at the hospital and I think it has gone beyond our control as a church. Our mission as a church is to save people spiritually and physically and if our institutions are failing to do that, we have every reason to be bothered. We appreciate the assistance that the Government gives us and we also understand that things are not good for them as well,” said Mutungura.
He added: “Fights in our dioceses are now history, we have dealt with them and to say a handful of people are affecting operations in the church is an over statement. Everyone is aware of what is happening in our country and we are not an exception, hence we are extending our bowel to whoever can assist.”
Mr Mutungura further stated that the situation at Bonda Hospital must be addressed urgently.
Hospital medical superintendent, Dr Linus Gutu, said their pharmacy has been operating without drugs for a while. He said the community that used to get proper health services at their doorstep are the hardest hit.
“We are still operating, but to be frank the hospital is in a critical situation as we serve mostly the rural population. Imagine someone would have walked about 20 kilometres to get to the hospital only to be told that there is no medication – even antibiotics or pain killers.
“We have a number of constraints here as most of our critical equipment is grounded, a situation which is detrimental to the health delivery system. The hospital is operating without an incinerator and we have been using a pit to dispose our waste.
“The method that we are using is environmentally hazardous as children and dogs can pick used injections and cotton, spreading diseases in the process. We have, however, fenced the area but the incinerator is still needed,” Dr Gutu said.
He added: “Doctors and nurses now shun this place because of its poor state. Coupled with the shortage of machinery, this is affecting the health delivery service in the area. We used to regularly receive grants from the Government but as you know, times are tough everywhere.”
Dr Gutu said the hospital requires thousands of dollars to put things back in order.
“Power is one big problem here, imagine during load shedding we use candles at such a huge hospital, our generators are not performing well hence cannot cater for this institution. We only generate a small income as expecting mothers, the elderly and infants don’t pay, leaving us with only a small percentage of people who are eligible to pay,” he said.
Villagers are now travelling long distances to Nyanga, Mutare or Rusape to access medical services.
“Life is becoming difficult for us here. As you can see we are coming here with our relatives but they are not getting any help because the hospital has no medication,” said Mrs Agnes Shumba.
Mr Tichafa Nyafesa said the hospital staff is very passionate about their work but their efforts are being hampered by lack of resources and medical instruments.
“Everyone who has been here before cannot dispute that this is one of the best hospitals in the land but slowly that glitter is fading because the hospital is not performing well.
We are talking about a matter of life and death here, our prayer is that God sends some people to assist us because we are in a big problem,” said Mr Nyafesa.