Relief for peri-urban settlers

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A BULAWAYO-BASED non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Loving Hand, has begun providing mobile health services to residents of urban settlements that have had no clinics since independence.

-STAFF REPORTER

The Loving Hand on Tuesday took a mobile clinic to St Peter’s, bringing smiles to residents of this sprawling settlement who are forced to walk about 15km to the nearest clinic in Pumula high-density suburb.

“It’s an integrated mobile clinic where we bring different health services to residents of St Peter’s,” Loving Hand director Kasirayi Hweta said.

“We are making an intervention in this peri-urban centre that has no clinic. In fact, this place has gone for 33 years without a clinic.”

Hweta said the Loving Hand also provided transport to residents of Methodist and Robert Sinyoka settlements to get to St Peter’s to access the mobile clinic that is brought to the area once every month.

“This is our second time here. We have managed to mobilise and bring our partners like the Population Services International (PSI).

“Mobile clinics are efficient and cost-effective to residents who have no money for transport to the nearest clinic,” Hweta added.

“Residents here need these services that are a basic human right.

“They are in dire need of these services and if we do not do it for them, who will do so?”

Commuter operators in St Peter’s charge a $1 to Pumula high-density suburb where there is a clinic.

PSI is an international NGO with programmes targeting HIV and Aids and reproductive health, malaria and child survival.

It also provides clinical services and behaviour change communications that empower the world’s most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives Peaceful Kawonga, the chairman of Mazwi village in St Peter’s said the mobile clinics will alleviate their plight.

“We have suffered for years with no nearby health services. We want the government to build a clinic for us,” Kawonga said.