Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe’s rural communities will now have access to improved health checks and diagnosis after First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday received a mobile state-of-the-art Health Automated Teller Machine.
The First Lady is the country’s Health Ambassador.
The health ATM handed over to her by Axis Solutions Africa conducts rapid health checks and early detection of chronic illnesses.
It is multi-functional, as it conducts general body check-ups, cardiac check-ups and tests for infectious diseases giving instant results.
The medical equipment has no geographical barriers, enabling disadvantaged people who largely live in rural areas to access quality healthcare.
Previously, remote communities faced serious health challenges characterised by the absence of health facilities and poor availability of trained medical personnel and medicines.
This will be largely a thing of the past as the First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, has been visiting mostly remote communities with the foundation’s mobile clinic screening people for breast cancer, prostate cancer and conducting other health checks.
Presenting the health ATM, Axis Solutions Africa’s group chief technologist Mr Brian Mukudzavu, said his company was touched by the role played by the First Lady to ensure everyone had access to good healthcare through her countrywide cancer screening and wellness programmes.
“We are in support of the First Lady’s wellness programmes which ensures people remain healthy,” he said.
“As Axis Solutions, we promote e-health and telemedicine. With this machine, just like automated teller machine for collecting instant funds from banks, you can check your health just like that.
“It checks diabetes, blood pressure and it reflects blood oxygen saturation and function of the lungs, BMI and fat. You can travel with the machine wherever and it’s like a hospital on its own. The machine has a facility for telemedicine and teleconferencing and allows doctors to give prescriptions based on the results.
“We have seen Amai reaching out to remote areas with her foundation’s mobile clinic, therefore, we are giving her this machine to put in the mobile clinic and move with it wherever she goes. We appreciate the First Lady’s efforts in the health sector.”
Mr Mukudzavu said his company would offer training to the staff that would be operating the machine.
Chief director curative services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Mr Sydney Makarawo, in his expert analysis, said the machine was handy in today’s world of medicine.
He said that kind of machine had not been used before in the country’s public hospitals, adding that its capacity to do telemedicine enabled it to transmit the information to a doctor who can then diagnose.
The doctor can even come up with a tentative diagnosis and give a prescription which can be printed.
Mr Makarawo applauded the First Lady for being a true health ambassador, adding that her efforts to improve health systems within rural and remote communities had been boosted.
The First Lady also received a vegetable drier from Youth in Mining director, Mr Aaron Mpandawana, in recognition of her unwavering efforts to meet the health and nutritional requirements of the country’s citizens in the wake of Covid-19.
Zimbabwe is under a 14-day lockdown extension period after having concluded an initial 21-day lockdown, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The lockdown has seen some vulnerable people, including the elderly, running out of food, prompting the First Lady to personally dry vegetables which she is distributing countrywide.
Mr Mpandawana said: “We saw the First Lady doing a great job of drying vegetables to assist those in need. Since we are into steel fabrication, we thought we could add value by giving her a sun vegetable drier with capacity to dry over 500kg at any given time.
“This is our first gift to her and we believe in the near future we will bring more to help her in this great work that she is doing of looking after the elderly and the poor in our communities.
Mr Mpandawana said as Youth in Mining, they were prepared to work closely with the First Lady in her projects.
Amai Mnangagwa was at a loss for words when she accepted both donations which she felt could not have come at any better time.
“I would like to thank you so much for coming at this time when we are looking for help in all our spheres of our economy and also in this Covid-19 period,” she said.
“Thank you very much for bringing such a machine that does everything at one time. If I take it in my mobile clinic, it is going to do a great job wherever I go testing the elderly people who cannot walk to health facilities which are usually far.
“This health ATM has a reservoir of functions that make it easier for a person to be diagnosed with the results being instantly available.
“The health ATM primarily affords people to be screened, in turn detecting their health condition.
“It is multi-functional in that it tests the viral load, body mass index, blood pressure and sugar levels. I am well informed that this revolutionary medical equipment has no geographical barriers and I am ecstatic that disadvantaged people can now access quality healthcare.”
The First Lady said the machine had come at a time when it was needed the most in terms of helping the people of Zimbabwe.
“It is my greatest hope that this machine helps as many people as possible in early detection of certain viruses and other diseases and disadvantaged people can now access quality health care,” she said.
“I am also humbled to receive another thoughtful donation from Youth in Mining. I didn’t know that our youth can do such programmes and up to the level of producing what we have seen.
“This is proof that the country’s youth empowerment is bearing fruits. What we have seen is very encouraging and I would also want to say to other youths out there, ‘work together, see what other youths are doing and come up with your own programmes as well so that our country has a lot to benefit’.
“These driers encourage me to prepare more vegetables, enabling me to assist those in need and mitigate the issue of hunger.”
The First Lady said it was comforting to know that her work was not in vain, but was impacting and touching the lives of the people of Zimbabwe.
She urged the country’s citizens to remain cautious and observe the extended lockdown period.
“Let us remain vigilant and cautious by observing the lockdown extension in the attempt to curb this virus,” said the First Lady.
“The way I see this extension of the lockdown is to protect our health and our life.”