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Free surgical camp benefits Vic Falls community

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

VICTORIA Falls residents and those from surrounding areas have commended the government and its partners for organising a free surgical camp that has seen several people benefitting.

Government, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) through funding from the government of Japan and other partners, is offering a week-long surgical camp at Victoria Falls Hospital in Victoria Falls.

The camp is targeting surgical procedures for 150 children and other age groups with tonsillitis, hernias, lipomas and benign tumours.

The community viewed the initiative as an early Christmas gift.

“Tonsils have been troubling my son for about ten years and we are grateful that the problem has been resolved, Victoria Falls is far away from major cities like Bulawayo and Harare where such services are normally offered, so this camp will certainly help reduce costs on our part and will also increase health coverage.”

The week-long camp so far has seen 53 children being operated on, with the target being 150 children.

“Our communities are getting this service closer home, closer to where they are and free of charge. Normally this service is offered at central hospitals. Sometimes people need to travel long distances so being here will go a long way in cutting costs and inconveniences associated with travelling long distances,” said Hwange District District Medical Officer, Dr Fungai Musinami.

“By offering these surgeries free of charge, we are alleviating the financial burden on individuals and families who may not otherwise be able to afford such care. This is a concrete example of how WHO, in collaboration with our partners, is working towards achieving universal health coverage and ensuring that no one is left behind,” said WHO Zimbabwe Technical Officer, Dr Thenjiwe Sisimayi.

The surgical camp is part of the government’s efforts to implement the National Surgical Obstetrics and Anesthesia Strategy (2022 – 2025) launched in September 2022.

To date, the programme has provided 241 free surgeries to Zimbabwean children, 101 of which have received hernia repairs early this year at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutare.

The second camp saw 140 patients receiving treatment for adenoids and tonsillitis.

The programme also offers capacity building, training and mentorship of surgical health workers, equipping health facilities with minor and major theatre equipment and ensuring continuity in service provision at the hospitals where surgeries are taking place.

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