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No Water Bucket, No Treatment: The Plight of Patients at Garanyemba Clinic

Without a bucket of water, expecting mothers are turned away. Photo: AI

At Garanyemba Clinic, you either bring a bucket of water or don't get treated. The community is searching for a lasting solution.

BY MELODY MPANDE | @The_CBNews | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | JAN 18, 2023

GWANDA (The Citizen Bulletin) — Memory Ncube (19) delivered her bouncing baby boy at Garanyemba Clinic in Gwanda two weeks ago, yet she still has not recovered from the trauma she went through at the local health facility.

For her, being admitted to a healthcare facility without water is like walking into a death trap.

“With the pains of stitches after delivery, l had to ferry a 20 litre bucket of water from outside the clinic building daily to bath, drink and wipe my baby.”
Memory Ncube narrates

As a result of the lack of water, Ncube says patients have had to bring their own water when seeking treatment at the clinic.

The Citizen Bulletin is reliably informed that Garanyemba Clinic has been operating without running water for several years, a development which negatively impacts especially on expecting mothers.

Reports indicate that patients and their relatives have to fetch water from a nearby river because of lack of a reliable water source. The clinic was officially opened in 2010 having been under construction since 2001.

Another expecting mother, Sabelo Dube says she had an awful experience when she visited the clinic for her monthly prenatal check-ups.

Heavily pregnant, Dube says she was chased away from the queue and told: ‘No water bucket, no treatment’.

“Before the nurses could even attend to me, l was sent back to bring a bucket of water,” says Dube.

Dube says she was lucky because she was accompanied by her mother who had to organise water for her so that she could be attended by the nurses. Access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services at health institutions are considered a critical human right by the World Health Organisation.

The implications for lack of WASH services in health facilities are severe: spread of infections in the very place in which patients are seeking care.

The implications for dignity are also profound; for example, women in labour. Gwanda District Medical Officer, Dr. Blessed Gwarimbo says the water crisis at the clinic affects patients especially expecting women.

“The water crisis is very dire at Garanyemba. Patients, especially expecting mothers are affected the most,” he says.

Gwarimbo says there is need for intervention by the Ministry of Health and Child Care to drill a borehole at the clinic.

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“I am confident that even the rural district council (Gwanda) is working flat-out to bring the situation to normalcy.”

Ward 13 Councillor (Gwanda Rural District Council) Miclas Ndlovu, says the community is working alongside some non-governmental organisations to address the situation.

“We are working with our partner, Dabane Trust, towards buying a submersible pump to draw water from the river to the clinic tanks so that we address the problem,” he explains.

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