Keeping Hospitals Open in Zimbabwe
December 19, 2008—United Methodist hospitals in Zimbabwe are keeping their doors open in spite of great hardship. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is helping to ease the burden by implementing a six month plan to shore up the hospitals so that they can keep operating in the current cholera epidemic and economic collapse in Zimbabwe.
Most public hospitals in Zimbabwe have closed, including the two main hospitals in Harare. Hospital staffs are on strike because their salaries have become worthless in the climate of hyperinflation. In addition, hospitals lack even the most basic medicines and supplies to treat patients.
Helping in the Midst of Hardship
This deadly brew of crises means that there is virtually no medical care for the country's poor-the ones most at risk for cholera. Nyadire and Mutambara United Methodist Hospitals serve everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
"Our own staff are doing all they can to keep the hospital doors open, even in the face of their own suffering," says Dr. Kalindi Thomas, General Board of Global Ministries missionary. Her recent trip to visit United Methodist hospitals in Zimbabwe revealed a grim situation.
"Nyadire and Mutambara Hospitals are open in spite of the non-availability of drugs and very low salaries of the staff. And the hospitals are full," she reports. Dr. Thomas noted that she saw patients who had traveled for days to reach any kind of medical treatment.
UMCOR is providing essential support for these hospitals to enable them to better cope with the worsening health situation in Zimbabwe and the cholera crisis in particular. Cholera kits to fully treat a total of 2,600 people will be sent to Nyadire and Mutambara Hospitals to help them specifically address the cholera issue in their areas.
Additional funds will be sent to the hospitals each month for the next six months to provide additional salary support for staff, food, medical supplies, and fuel for generators and vehicles, so that the hospitals can continue serving their communities despite the difficult circumstances.
A shipment of 14,000 school kits and 35 Medicine Boxes are en route and are expected to arrive in February to further support the work of the hospitals. Each Medicine Box has sufficient supplies to treat 1,000 people with basic health needs for a period of three months.
How You Can Help
In addition to supporting local hospitals, UMCOR is implementing immediate and long-term projects that will provide food and water for thousands of people. Financial gifts will support these efforts. Please give to Zimbabwe Emergency, UMCOR Advance #199456 to support the general response. Gifts to Hospital Revitalization, UMCOR Advance #982168 will specifically support United Methodist hospitals.