by Tafara Mugwara
MAHUSEKWA, Zimbabwe, March 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese-funded hospital in rural Zimbabwe is bringing relief to villagers who used to endure walking long distances to seek medical attention.
The Mahusekwa Hospital, also known as China-Zimbabwe Friendship Hospital, was built with Chinese aid to provide quality health services in Mahusekwa, a rural area in Marondera District, east of the capital Harare.
Mahusekwa Hospital Project Phase I was completed and handed over to the Zimbabwean government in 2012. The Phase II project, which opened in 2019 with a total area of 5,220 square meters and a floor area of 650 square meters, features a larger courtyard and upgraded facilities in the mortuary, disinfection room, and laundry room, among others.
The state-of-the-art hospital has dental, pediatrics, theatre, radiology and physiotherapy, mortuary, and maternity wing, among others.
Marondera District Medical Officer Delight Madoro said the hospital has brought great convenience in terms of medical care.
"Mahusekwa is a bit far from the provincial capital Marondera as well as Harare. Before the construction and opening of the hospital, people used to go to Marondera or Harare to seek medical services, but ever since the opening of this hospital, it has seen people having better access and easy access to health care services in the district," Madoro told Xinhua.
He said the hospital has been a game changer, as locals and even people from as far as Harare, which is over 100 kilometers away, come to receive treatment.
"In my opinion, the aid from China toward our health services is of paramount importance since we continue getting support from the People's Republic of China. This support comes in the form of manpower. It also comes in the form of equipment and sundries to use toward service provision for our patients," Madoro said.
Banard Madembo, a doctor at the hospital, said the facility has greatly improved the quality of medical services in the area. "Before the building of this hospital, we used to have clinics and rural hospitals in this area, (but) the closest hospital is about 55 kilometers away. There were some services that were not available at the clinic or at a rural hospital such as theatre services, laboratory services, and radiology like x-rays and ultrasound scans."
"So now there is a hospital, we are able to provide such services. So it's better for the patients because it's a shorter distance to travel from their villages to the hospital," he said.
Caroline Mabuda, a villager, said the hospital has been welcomed by the community. "The good thing about having a hospital closer is that when people get sick, they get assistance quickly. Those who were traveling long distances are now closer to the hospital, and this will make it easier for them to get assistance. Expectant mothers will not give birth on the way; they can be ferried to the hospital by ambulance. So we are grateful, and we hope they will also do the same in other places," said Mabuda.
The Zimbabwean government is targeting universal health coverage by 2030, and China has played a major role in improving the country's healthcare system.
China and Zimbabwe have a long history of cooperation in the medical field. Since 1985, China has dispatched medical teams to Zimbabwe.
Last year, the National Pharmaceutical Warehouse, aided by China, was handed over to the Zimbabwean government. In addition, the Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center was also established in 2020.