Rumbidzayi Zinyuke-Senior Health Reporter
Over 10 000 people in Buhera District, Manicaland Province, are set to benefit from the completion of Mbundire Clinic, which was built using devolution funds to improve access to healthcare in the area in line with the Second Republic’s development agenda which leaves no one behind.
This comes as the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has earmarked $19,5 billion for devolution projects to rebuild the nation.
While developmental projects are taking shape across the country, development has come closer to home for Buhera villagers who, before the advent of the Second Republic, travelled long distances to the nearest health facility.
Buhera Rural District Council chief executive Dr Emily Chibvongodze said the local authority had used part of the $22,5 million allocated under devolution to build the clinic while the remaining funds had been used for other infrastructure projects to change the lives of the people.
“Ward 1 is the only area which had no clinic and people were walking long distances of up to 10km to get to the clinic. Some even walked further into other districts like Chikomba for health services, which is not ideal. We are currently fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and health services have become even more important so we hope that this clinic will provide that to more than 10 000 beneficiaries within that catchment area. We appreciate the Devolution funds as they have given us a chance to make a big difference in the communities,” she said.
Devolution is enshrined in the 2013 Constitution, but its implementation began with the coming in of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa when huge sums were budgeted to top up funds which local authorities raise to fund essential infrastructure.
In 2019, the Government started disbursing funds to local authorities to enhance infrastructure development in line with Vision 2030 which seeks to create an upper-middle-income economy.
The devolution and decentralisation programme is anchored in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which seeks to empower provinces, districts and communities to implement development strategies that create equal opportunities for all in a stable environment.
Devolution was allocated $19,5 billion in the 2021 National Budget to give impetus to the promotion of inclusive and balanced socio-economic development.
Dr Chibvongodze said construction of the clinic had already been completed as well as three staff houses, ablution facilities, waste zones and the water supply for the facility.
Once the plumbing has been completed to allow piped water supply to the clinic, the health centre will be opened to the public by the end of September.
“We hope to get more funds so that we can finish all the outstanding works for the clinic to start functioning. We are installing solar geysers so we need to channel more money towards the solar system that will ensure that we have constant water supply,” she said.
The local authority has also utilised the devolution funds to construct an access road that will link the clinic, business centre as well as other important facilities with the communities.
While the building of the clinic will go a long way to reducing the distance villagers walk to access healthcare, Dr Chibvongodze said more still needed to be done for the district to meet the need for health services.
She said the Ministry of Health and Child Care had given the go ahead for the district to create community health centres that would fill the gap for other health services.
“This is a lower structure of community health service delivery and will help villagers who are more than 5km from the nearest health centre. These posts will help to bring health care closer to the people as they will not have to walk for long distances to the nearest health centre,” she said.
Dr Chibvongodze said the ward committees were currently identifying the possible areas where the posts could be located.