International visitors from OXFAM visit Masvingo

01 December, 2011

Report by Morgan Hayiza


ZimAHEAD Project Officer.

Oxfam staff from UK, Germany, Scotland and Zimbabwe had an opportunity to visit the Community Health Clubs and rehabilitated water points in Masvingo Rural District of Zimbabwe, where ZimAHEAD implemented an OFDA funded Water and Sanitation Project through OXFAM GB. The project ended in June 2011.

The WASH Response to Humanitarian Crisis in Zimbabwe was implemented through the Community Health Club Approach, or simply the AHEAD Model. It was aimed at reducing the vulnerability of the at risk rural populations in the southern part of Masvingo Rural District to water and sanitation related diseases.

Masvingo RDC

The OXFAM team of six members met the  Masvingo Rural District Council, received by Mr. Nyatsanza who was representing the CEO for the District. Mr. Nyatsanza explained what the project had brought to the district in terms of behaviour change in  health and hygiene as well as infrastructure development in the form of rehabilitation of the water points. He expressed gratitude also with the level of capacity building that the district had received through the various trainings that ZimAHEAD and OXFAM had done.

He also explained how ZimAHEAD did the Health Promotion and the effects thereafter to the population of their district  in the form of increased number of household pot racks, refuse pits, and hand washing facilities (the tippy tap). He also mentioned that the rehabilitation of boreholes had come as a relief to the district and stressed that although good work was done, there still was a need to scale the good work up in other wards which still have water problems. He commended the tremendous exceeding of the targeted 8 boreholes to an actual of 15 boreholes rehabilitated achieved during training.

On behalf of the district he appealed to the visitors for more funding to enable blanket coverage of the district in rehabilitation as well as health promotion. Mr. Nyatsanza then accompanied the team to the Field where we visited ward 23.

The team had an opportunity to see  for themselves the characteristics of a model home. The point was well swept with a refuse pit; a pot rack and a hand wash facility. Along the road in the ward, we could see these health enabling facilities clearly in the households nearby- the presence of such signifies membership and subscription to a community health club.

Thenthe team visited the home of one of the Community Based Facilitators (CBF), Mrs. Kokerai. She explained how she had started her club and the hygiene sessions which led to the graduations. She proudly showed the team her certificate of graduation. Her home actually depicted a model home with all the health enabling facilities present and nicely kept. Her husband who is also a member of their club reiterated how the program had helped in addressing problems of communicable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and skin diseases in their area.

Asked about how she felt about being a facilitator, Mrs. Kokerai told the visitors that she felt great to have been leading big group of 196 people in her club. She was particularly exited by the response by the people in putting up the health enabling facilities at their individual homes.

She told the delegation that almost every household in her village had started in one way or the other construction of a BVIP without any subsidy. All questions were answered satisfactorily and the team was impressed by the confidence and knowledge that the CBF exhibited.

The team had a chance to visit Nyajena Rural Hospital where we were welcomed by the Nurse in Charge there, Mr. Chimhundu. He briefed the team on the impact of the program with regard to disease control. Diarrhoeal diseases related deaths were said to be high before the intervention but now it was a thing of the past. The prevalence of skin diseases and ARIs were also said to have gone down significantly owing to the improved KAPP because of the project.

From his own observation, personal and home hygiene had improved remarkably for the first time in eight years, the time he had been working at the centre.  He made mention of the cleaning campaigns which were held periodically at the health centre, schools and in the villages. He also told the team about his attendance to some of the graduation ceremonies held in the ward and said that these were very influential in the dissemination of information, especially the songs, drama and dances which were performed.

Lastly the team went to view one of the rehabilitated boreholes about two kilometers from the health centre. As we got there we found the water point locked as a sign of management and responsibility. Mr. Chimhundu who was still with us said the people gave each other timetables for drawing water from the borehole. He  also talked about the rehabilitation of boreholes which came as huge relief to their community as they were drawing drinking water from shallow wells and the nearby river.

Mr. Nyatsanza from The RDC gave a vote of thanks to the visitors for taking interest to visit their district and again he appealed to OXFAM to provide more support so that the work could be spread to other areas in the district. We then wished our visitors a safe journey back to Harare as well as their various destinations beyond the Zimbabwean boarders.