Chigwizi camp clinic overwhelmed

THE government has come under attack for its failure to provide adequate medical care for displaced families relocated to the Chingwizi section of the Nuanetsi Ranch in the aftermath of flooding fears at the Tokwe Murkosi dam’s basin.

Herbert Moyo

Residents at the holding camp which houses an estimated 18 000 people this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that that they have been let down by government which has so far failed to provide proper medical facilities despite the large numbers of people at the facility.The camp has a makeshift clinic housed in a tent and according to residents it is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of patients and lacks the capacity to deal with emergency cases.

There are no ambulance services to ferry patients to the nearest hospital in Triangle.

“The clinic which is just a single tent cannot cater for the large numbers of people who are forced to queue for hours for services. It lacks even simple equipment and one woman died on the way to Neshuro hospital in Mwenezi where she was being ferried because there were no drip facilities to help her beat dehydration,” said a resident.

The residents say people are dying of otherwise treatable diseases like diarrhoea, which is prevalent as a consequence of water problems in the arid area. “People are dying here of diseases that could otherwise be attended to and treated. We have just been burying one of our relatives,” said one elderly lady who refused to be identified, adding “the nearest hospital is in Triangle”.

Another man said more than 15 people have died of various ailments at the camp so far.

Last week the Zimbabwe Independent visited the area — a sprawling stretch of dusty tents — and was shown graves of people who have died since the relocation. Unsightly makeshift toilets have been constructed of plastics and shallow holes dug into the ground, which could result in the spread of disease.

The residents also alleged they were still being starved of food as a way of breaking their resistance to relocation to another section of the ranch which they say is arid and unsuitable for their subsistence farming activities.

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