Letter from the field

Andrew Muringaniza, Programme Manager
Regis Matimati, Director of Programmes

14th March, 2011

By Regis Matimati


‘The events lined up for us were pregnant with palpable emotion as communities felt they had been given their lives back by the provision of water.’

Once again we saw how our officers are doing wonders with CHCs. We got complimented by the community, schools and DWSSC for the borehole rehabilitation. Some of the boreholes had been down for the past 10 years and then came Andrew and the Zim AHEAD team.

One School Headmistress impressed me when she told the gathering that she was trained by our team to repair the school borehole and would repair it in future breakdowns as she was now as good as a VPM. Talk of community capacity building!

Chipinge District

We then proceeded to Checheche where cholera is wreaking havoc at ARDA estate. I am proud to tell you that our Community Based Facilitators are holding their own with the CHCs. They quickly mobilised the community back into active sessions upon realization that cholera was close by. Massive CHC sessions were held on the water and sanitation related topics. The Nurse in Charge as well as the Ward Health Team Chairman for Vheneka Clinic were full of praise of how the CHCs have reorganized to prevent cholera.  The clinic needs repairs to a storm damaged roof.

You will remember ARDA estate (now Macdom Investiments) lies in the middle of our project catchment area but we did not have CHCs in there. The estate has a new investor who buses in workforce from as far afield as Buhera. They use raw water from the Save river and water quality  tests by the MoHCW revealed no residual chlorine at all in the water at point of use. The outbreak started with 2 people being affected 3 weeks ago and cumulatively the estate clinic has treated 54 cases and nearby St Peters reportedly treating over 50 cases. ACF and MoHCW had distributed NFIs, aquatabs, soap and water treatment. However when we got there they had 5 cases on active treatment with one case

having arrived at the clinic that morning meaning to say the out-break is not over even though ACF and MoHCW staff had withdrawn from the estate. While we were still at the clinic a team from Masvingo province arrived at the clinic as Masvingo is worried after having seen about 30 cases at their 4 clinics across the Save River all being linked with the Macdom Estate. They were hoping to meet with the MoHCW crew from Manicaland and were visibly disappointed not to see their counterparts in the area even though there where still some active cases of cholera. The Masvingo MoH left  and we hope they will be able to collaborate efforts with Manicaland MoH to stop the outbreak.

Mutare Town and Sakubva Township

We then left for Mutare where  I talked to the Director of  Health Services. He was full of praise for the work we started 2008/09 as he says they have managed to get 2 refuse trucks but still up to now there was not much litter to collect from Sakubva as residents were sorting their litter by themselves with much of it now being used as compost and very little finding its way to the refuse bin. He is so proud of how he has become a very highly respectable official since our time together where he would go with us to meet the residence/ CHC members and address them. A very constructive working relationship between Council and the residence was forged there and to date Mutare is regarded as a shining example of how residents work in harmony with the Council. He said he owes all that to ZimAHEAD for providing such a forum (CHCs) for dialogue.

We toured Sakubva and it is hard to believe that this is a high density suburb as it is so clean. All the usual overflowing of old sewers is now history. The residents have held on to their taught behaviour around waste management.

Next we visited Sakubva Hospital where the Clinic Manager said the disease prevalence was very different from the patterns of the period before our project. He said KAP had changed remarkably with cases of WSRD(water and sanitation related disease) coming mainly from the provincial marketplace where people come from other districts to trade their wares and at times seek treatment from the hospital.  He was quite upbeat about how the residents of Sakubva had managed to stay healthy since our project there in 2009.

We then visited the Community Nurse and she said good health and hygiene had generally been maintained. She hoped the volunteers would get support as they were behind the achievements and maintenance of health and hygiene in the location.  She also appealed for support for the Girl Child Project they were running at the centre where they enroll OVC (girls only) and they gave a year long-life skills training. Their challenge was with  tutor remuneration, lunches and a graduation package like sewing materials and machines for the girls. They take in 22 girls annually.

We finally met up with the CBFs who could not hide their joy at seeing us. They said they were continuing with CHC but more on internal saving and lending schemes, Community Home Based Care, Vulnerable Group Feeding with other NGOs (ASAP, Mercy Corps and Plan International) among other things.