A CLINIC in Gwanda District is allegedly demanding firewood and water from patients.
In an interview at the just-ended Matabeleland South Agricultural Show in Gwanda Town on Friday, the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) advocacy officer for Selonga area Mrs Patience Ndlovu said life had become difficult for HIV positive people as they were forced to carry firewood and water to clinics without electricity and running water in order for them to receive treatment.
“Patients who require treatment at Selonga Clinic are expected to bring firewood and water. This has made life difficult for the HIV positive people seeking treatment at the clinic. Some patients walk up to 40km to reach the clinic and the demands by the clinic staff is another burden to patients who are already finding it difficult to walk.
“We understand that firewood is needed for the sterilisation of some medical equipment as there is no electricity but demanding firewood from patients is not the solution,” she said
Mrs Ndlovu said patients who visited the clinic without water and firewood were turned away or advised to look for water and firewood in the nearby areas.
She said the long distance travelled by some patients such as those from Oarkblock Farm could result in some HIV positive mothers delivering at home, thus increasing the risk of them infecting their children on delivery.
“You find that an HIV positive pregnant woman living in Oarkblock Farm ends up delivering at home because of the long distance travelled to the clinic. As a result, the new born baby would be at high risk of getting infected,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
She said there were some people who were willing to be tested for HIV but to date did not know their status because they were discouraged by the long distances to return to the clinic to check on results.
“We are therefore appealing to authorities to provide mobile clinics so that health services are brought closer to the people,” she said.
Efforts to get a comment from the clinic were fruitless.
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