Higherlife Foundation yesterday handed over maternal health medical equipment to seven hospitals in Zimbabwe, through an investment from ELMA Philanthropies.
Founded by Mr Strive Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi in 1996, Higherlife is a social impact organisation that invests in human capital to build thriving individuals, communities and sustainable livelihoods.
The handover will see 925 Blood Pressure machines, 55 glucometers, 110 infrared thermometers and 54 fetal dopplers distributed to maternity departments at Sally Mugabe Hospital, Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital, Chitungwiza Hospital, Mpilo Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), provincial hospitals in Midlands and Manicaland.
In addition to the initial placement, the Foundation intends to supply the hospitals with more large-scale, high-tech equipment early next year.
With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the provision of essential maternal and neonatal health services and eroding the steady gains Zimbabwe had made in improving mortality rates, Higherlife said it felt duty bound to assist.
“When we heard about the state of our maternity wards, we knew we had to respond,” said Higherlife chief executive Dr Kennedy Mubaiwa.
“Through the generous support of our close partner ELMA Philanthropies who funded the project, we can invest in saving the lives of the most vulnerable (people) of our communities, new-born babies and their mothers.
“ELMA Philanthropies’ response for which we are truly grateful, has proven to us that as Zimbabweans, we do not walk alone, there are like-minded organisations and partners who are willing, not only to empathise with us, but also to invest in us.”
The equipment handover is part of Higherlife’s work to create a safe working environment in maternity wards and to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes across the targeted institutions by addressing the shortages of equipment that lead to incorrect risk assessments, diagnosis and treatment.
In order to strengthen health systems, build technical capacity and improve service delivery, Higherlife will also provide training for health facility personnel.
“The comprehensive training will utilise a blended learning approach of both in-person and online training courses to broaden the knowledge, expertise and competence of doctors, midwives, nurses, and auxiliary staff in the maternity wards,” said Dr Mubaiwa.
“This investment is an expression of our deep sense of appreciation for all medical personnel who spend the greater part of their lives and careers saving Zimbabwean lives and helping our communities to thrive.”