In Nkayi, Poor Access To Healthcare Has Dire Consequences

Some people in rural Nkayi live in physical pain due to a lack of access to health facilities. With limited health funding, help may not come soon.

Fanyana Nxumalo (27) has developed cancerous wounds in his right leg but cannot access medical care due to lack of funds and a nearby clinic from his Mantshololozane village in Nkayi. He says the gaping wounds started in September last year; it was dismissed as either an insect bite or just a body reaction from walking barefoot. However, the condition has grounded him to the point that he cannot move from one end to another.

“It was on September 2, last year when l woke up and found my leg swollen with few blisters appearing, but not that much,” Nxumalo narrated his fate from his homestead. “It went on to the point where l was no longer sure what it could be because l could not sleep anymore, and those blisters had started producing watery fluids, and we made a decision to go to the hospital using a scotch cart.”

He says this was during the COVID-19 lockdown so the nurses on duty could not attend to him, citing that they were only taking critical conditions.

“I have been stuck here, and the wound is widening. I have no money to go to the Bulawayo for an examination, and even here, there is no nearby clinic that I can go to for nurses to examine me.”

His wife, Otalia Ncube, now fears that her husband might never get help as the family does not have enough funds to travel.

“Throughout the farming season, l was doing everything by myself while looking after him, the home and the children and my hope, for now, would be to get him money to go to Mpilo hospital for treatment,” Ncube adds.

Mpilo Central Hospital is a referral centre for Matabeleland North and South, and Midlands provinces. Nxumalo is not the only one in the village going through a rough patch due to nearby clinics or hospital unavailability. In Sivomo village in Ward 18, Sihle Tshuma (4) is battling an undiagnosed illness that has lasted for two years.

The condition which often blocks her from relieving herself in the toilet has seriously affected her growth, her mother Izile says.

“I took her to Gonye clinic in May last year, and they referred me to Nkayi District Hospital for further examination. Her stomach is always bloated and painful, and the nurses said she needs to be taken to Bulawayo or Kwekwe for examination, but l don’t have the money to cover for all those expenses,” she says.

Sihle can go for a week without any bowel movements. According to her mother, she was supposed to have begun her Early Childhood Development (ECD) education this year, but her condition, coupled with nausea and high fever, made it impossible.

Asked about people like Nxumalo and Tshuma, who represent many in the district suffering from various ailments, Matabeleland North Province Medical director Munekayi Padingani says lack of funding is a hindrance.

“We are aware of their struggles, but for now, there is nothing much that we can do due to lack of funds,” he says.

“Once we get funding, we will implement our designed plan to visit those people from village to village and treat them. Those who have severe illnesses will be taken to district hospitals for further treatment, but this is a program that we will implement throughout the province.”

Source: The Citizen Bulletin

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