POPULATION Services Zimbabwe (PSZ) has handed a consignment of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) to 16 Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) health institutions currently being supported by the organization under the Public Sector Strengthening (PSS) mechanism as well as other two health institutions namely Marondera Provincial Hospital and the Zimbabwe National Family Council (ZNFPC) clinic, bringing the total number of institutions that received the donation Mashonaland East to 18.
By Michael Gwarisa in Marondera
Speaking during the handover ceremony of the donated equipment, Provincial Medical Director (PMD) for Mashonaland East Dr Paul Matsvimbo said the donation would boost morale and confidence of the health workers in the province especially in the face of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
We are very grateful for the assistance. I think we embarked on this COVID-19 journey and its almost more than a year now and still, we don’t know when it will end. We had little knowledge, little experience and very few PPE. Sometimes our facilities were closing and nurses could even run away from patients but we are happy that together, we have moved a lot to improve the knowledge that our healthcare workers have to make sure that services are not disrupted.
“Family health or maternal health services were being affected and we even saw a decline in terms of our various indicators whether they were Immunizations, Antenatal Care (ANC) etc, we experienced that decline. We expect that this donation that we are receiving here will continue to assist our clinics to continue to offer these services as our health workers will feel much more confident to deliver the services,” said Dr Matsvimbo.
He added that the donation would also compliment already existing government efforts of ensuring that health workers get adequate PPE and other essential tools for the trade.
The PSZ program in Mashonaland East is being funded by the United Kingdom Aid (UK Aid) under the Women Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) Funding Mechanism and through that support, PSZ is funding a total 16 PSS sites in three districts namely Mudzi, Mutoko and Hwedza. The PSZ protective equipment donation was also funded by WISH and other development partners.
Giving her remarks, the PSZ Country Director, Mrs Pester Siraha said even though their focus as an organization was to deliver long-acting contraceptives, the donation of PPE would also ensure that frontline workers manning family planning units in the 16 public health facilities as well as Marondera Provincial Hospital and ZNFPC Clinic are adequately protected from contracting various forms of infection including COVID-19.
“We are here today because of COVID-19 and as people the world over, we are facing an unprecedented global health threat due to COVID-19 and the pandemic has significantly changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we socialize and the way we even do our business. In addition, the pandemic has also put an extra ordinary pressure and an unprecedented burden on our healthcare system as a nation.
“This has resulted in a huge cost being incurred in the procurement and the provision of PPE. Pursuant to the need to fulfill our commitment to complement the ministry of health and child care (MoHCC) efforts in Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and Family Planning (FP) service provision, we are here to present to Mashonaland East province and the ZNFPC here in Mash East a consignment of PPE materials,” said Mrs Siraha.
Other PSZ programs in other parts of the country are being funded by the Embassy of Sweden and other partners and PSZ has to date handed over batches of PPE to at least seven out 10 provinces countrywide. The PPE equipment distributed countrywide was secured through support from the Embassy of Sweden, UK AID PSZ partners, Marie Stopes (MSI Reproductive Choices) and other partners.
She added that the prevailing health challenges that have been brought about by the COVID-19 requires collaboration between private sector, the business community, donors, Civil Society and even the Citizenry.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) Executive Director Dr Munyaradzi Murwira said that the PSZ donation of PPE will ensure that there is continuity of services even in the presence of COVID-19.
“Last year, there was a serious disruption of services when COVID-19 hit us early last year. We closed some facilities, we stopped providing services and some of the indicators for the program went down seriously and significantly so we are very happy that today we are getting this donation which will ensure that there is continuity of services and our health workers feel safe and are able to provide the services in a safe environment and having these supplies to ensure that they do their work properly.
“I would like to thank PSZ for the donation and hope that we continue to have this partnership and cooperation as we go into the future. I was in Matabeleland South last week for a similar occasion where there was a similar donation. I would like to thank PSZ and their donors for giving us these products or PPE that are essential for us to continue providing services in this era of the COVID-19,” said Dr Murwira.
He added that PSZ has over the years worked with ZNFPC in areas of SRH, Family Planning and they have assisted the government of Zimbabwe and the country to achieve significant gains in terms of long-acting reversible contraceptive, methods in the country.