BULAWAYO – Women have pleaded with Bulawayo City Council (BCC) authorities to improve health service delivery through channeling more funds towards the health services department which has over the years been failing to meet the public’s needs.
Speaking during a meeting that was facilitated by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) at the 2021 women budget consultations, Jacqueline Ndlovu, an informal trader, called for a gender sensitive budget that will prioritise women’s health.
Ndlovu said women were most affected by the Municipality’s incompetence to provide satisfactory health care services and provide adequate water.
“As women, we are disproportionately affected by how the City Council has been failing us in terms of health service delivery. Even the 144-hour water shedding program has largely not been gender sensitive. Imagine in a family where there is four women and they menstruate at the same time, those women are bound to have infections because they are using water sparingly.”
“Citizens are not getting the quality of service they should be getting and the services that we have been getting especially in the health departments has been poor. When you call an ambulance, it delays to come or it does not come at all. Many have lost their relatives because of such poor services,” she said.
Janet Ngwenya said the Council should intensify its efforts towards treating cancer as treatment is overpriced and there is inadequate machinery to treat people with cancer.
“Cancer treatment is very expensive. The machinery that is used to treat cancer is insufficient. City council should do something about this issue because a lot of people are dying because of this disease. The budget disregards the treatment of cancer and we appeal for a review,” said Ngwenya.
Presenting the 2021 budget, the Principal Acting Gender, Safety and Health Officer Mrs. Manyenwe said the local authority will construct a clinic in Cowdray Park suburb and renovate the existing ones in other suburbs.
She said: “Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is looking at constructing a clinic in Cowdray Park, renovating clinics, purchasing various equipment for the health services department as well as improving services on refuse collection.”
Women from Cowdray Park suburb implored the municipality to prioritize maternity services in the new clinic as residents are forced to travel long distances to get to the nearest clinic.
Juliet Samson said a lot of pregnant women in the suburb were flooding clinics in Luveve and Nkulumane as they did not have any health facility that provided maternal health services.
“You have indicated that you are going to construct a clinic for us in Cowdray Park, we commend you for that. We also ask that you provide a maternity ward. Most pregnant women struggle with maternal services. There are a lot of young women these days who struggle for maternal health services, they have to go as far as Luveve and Pelandaba. We feel that this clinic should also have maternal services so that our women won’t have to go far to access services,” she said.
Samson added: “We also ask that you train your staff on customer care. Most of our health workers fail to work well with locals.”
Council increased its tariffs by over 400 per cent, an indication that the city is struggling with finances to meet all the needs of citizens.
This decision was unanimously rejected by women who cited their inability to pay highly pegged council rates as they are inundated with poor income mostly spurred by the country’s deteriorating economy and the COVID-19 induced lockdown which limited opportunities for income generation.