Chiredzi community celebrates the opening of the new Family and Child Health Department at Chiredzi Hospital. The official opening ceremony took place on Wednesday, November 08, 2017.
The new pre-fabricated building addresses structural deterioration and congestion at the previous Family and Child Health unit, which had 2 small rooms for provision family and child health services, making it uncomfortable for clients. The newly installed structure comprises of 5 spacious rooms that will offer a range of services, including Antenatal and Postnatal Care, HIV counselling and testing, screening of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Antiretroviral Treatment, reproductive health and child growth monitoring.
The new FCH unit is a result of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Families and Communities for the Elimination of HIV (FACE HIV) Consortium partners (Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development OPHID and the J.F Kapnek Trust) with funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID)
Officiating at the handover ceremony, the USAID Director for Health, Ms Karen Kassan said: “This milestone that we are celebrating today, the opening of a new Family and Child Health Unit, is a good example of the partnership and strong collaboration between the people of Zimbabwe and the United States Government in addressing the health needs of the Chiredzi community”.
Addressing the gathering, Chiredzi Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr. David Tarumbwa said “the hospital has been facing a series of challenges, including shortage and inadequate working space, which in many cases compromises service delivery”. The hospital is doubling up as primary care facility and a referral hospital in the district, and thus services high volumes of people.
Dr. Tarumbwa added that: “The new FHC structure reveals evidence of the excellent working relationships fostered with various development partners, including the FACE HIV consortium partners, in the health delivery system”.
Following a series of consultative processes, FACE HIV Consortium partner J.F Kapnek supported installation of the 5 roomed prefabricated FCH unit. The J.F Kapnek Director, Mr Karl Riber said “as a long standing partner to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the support in installing a new FCH unit is a significant investment that demonstrates our commitment to client confidentiality and quality service”.
Additionally, the new FCH department will facilitate access to an integrated package of health services in a more family friendly environment. FACE HIV Consortium Chief of Party, Ms Patricia Mbetu said the Consortium supports the MOHCC to provide family centred care.
“We want to ensure that the unit is friendly to families, including men, who should also enjoy such facilities. But we note that men are often missing”, said Ms Mbetu. She encouraged the Chiredzi community to embrace this family centred approach to health care, with men taking the lead and also supporting their families to access health services.
Zimbabwe has embraced the UNAIDS 90-90-90 approach to ending the HIV epidemic by 2020 and the Global Plan for the Dual Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis. Collaborative efforts are required to ensure that the people living with HIV are identified through HIV testing, are linked to and retained in the continuum of care. By addressing severe space constraints at Chiredzi District Hospital, the pre-fabricated unit helps to ensure that clients receive services in an environment that is confidential, safe, and dignified. More so, virtual elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV also requires that mothers, male partners and their babies are offered comprehensive health care as a family, under one roof.