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August 15, 2017

MZ among unsung Zimbabwe heroes

Filed under: Feature,News,News — Nhaudzenyu @ 12:30 pm
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By Chenai Maramba

KAROI– Zimbabweans celebrated 37 years of independence and remembering many political heroes who fought for the country liberation before independence on 11 and 12 August 2017.

As the nation took time to reflect how those who fought before and after independence, too many of the unsung heroes of our time will forever be remembered.

Although the heroes’ status has been politicized with the thrust of Zanu PF and Government officials being given the highest accord, it is disheartening that there are some who fought for equality to all after independence but whose voices have been silenced.

For some when Movement for Democratic Change, MDC led by former Prime Minister of Government of National Unity Morgan Tsvangirai , was formed in 1999 as the only strongest opposition party to challenge Zanu PF misrule, it was a tough decision and it needed those with focus to take it to the fore forefront and challenge the status quo.

Several thousands have suffered in silence over challenging Zanu PF misrule and some have passed on and are unsung heroes of Zimbabwe post-independence era.

One of these is the late Luckson Kanyurira whose abduction and death in the resort town of Kariba remain vivid to many peace loving Zimbabweans.

Others are Tonderai Ndira who was murdered during to run up to 2008 elections.

Learnmore Jongwe passed on prison following a suspected set up by Zanu PF spies in 2002.

But Karoi farming town situated about 204 kilometer north-west of Harare has been the hot bed of political victimization by mainly Zanu PF youths against opposition members.

But behold, another young soul among hundreds of MDC supporters is Malvern Muzivoreva well known as MZ who was born and bred in Karoi farming town on 18 January 1983.

Late Malverne Muzoworeva MZ an MDC activist who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and died in South Africa. One of unsung opposition members from Karoi

Late Malvern Muzivoreva MZ an MDC activist who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and died in South Africa. One of unsung opposition members from Karoi in Mashonaland West province,

He attended Karoi Junior primary school and later went to Karoi High School for his O level.

MZ was politically conscious on need for democratic change as well as total independence of every citizen.

It was not by coincidence that he was actively involved with MDC.

One of the founding MDC members Frack Kuchekwa recalled how MZ was in the forefront of organizing youths in the party.

‘Malvern was among few MDC youths around Karoi town who used to go around the farms selling party cards with the need to have workers know their rights so that they cannot be looked down upon. He was an active youth MDC member and we looked forward to him for greater ideas as a party,’ said Kuchekwa.

While MZ was being active in opposition politics, at family level life was becoming hard for their eldest sister Mary, born in 1974 who had to toil for the four member family following the death of their mother, Evelyn in 1993, when MZ was only ten years old.

Hardly a year years after joining politics MZ’s father, Campion passed on. Two years later he was arrested in September 2004 and stayed in Karoi prison until 2008.

This became the hardest time for his sister, Mary as she had to fend for the other brother and another sister, without formal employment.

‘Unfortunately he contracted Tuberculosis, TB while in Karoi prison due to squalid conditions. We knew that his arrest and incarnation was politically motivated,’ recalled another MDC supporter James Kadara who worked with MZ.

Malvern was later released on bail 2008.

MDC activist Malverne Muzoworeva in all white who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and passed on in South Africa. In this file photo he was with brother Marevlous. Both are now late.

MDC activist Malvern Muzivoreva in all white who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and passed on in South Africa. In this file photo he was with brother Marvelous. Both are now late.

This forced him to flee Zimbabwe that year to join his sister Mary who was battling to make ends meet during the country economic, social and political crisis before Government of National Unity in 2009.

‘Malvern had no choice than to flee the country as there was no medication in public hospitals and TB is curable so he had no option but to follow her sister in South Africa,’ added his close friend, Kadara.

He was later to get better medication at Kempton Civic Centre clinic until the time of his death on 2 April 2016.

‘Her sister was by his side for these years when he battled TB in South Africa and she has been man enough to shoulder the burden of political mismanagement by the ruling party,’ added Kuchekwa.

Former MDC Mashonaland West provincial spokesperson Big Haurobi added his voice that many unsung heroes are not recognized due to the Zanu PF barbaric attitude.

‘We have too many unsung heroes of this struggle and we hope one day people like MZ will be remembered by peace loving Zimbabweans. He was among youth cadres who gave up their life in the face of abduction, threats,. brutality in the province that has been the hot-spots of opposition politics,’ added Haurobi.

He added that besides challenges faced many of Malvern’s relatives remain targets of Zanu PF regime.

‘We know for a fact that the regime is targeting MZ relatives and we wish they could stay safe wherever they are because MZ played a pivotal role although we are fighting a regime with diabolic intentions,’ said Haurobi.

He added, ‘We must remember Tapiwa Mubwanda who was killed in cold blood murder in Hurungwe. These are many and women who paid price for this,’

Jawet Kazangarare and former soldier Peter Madamombe terrorized MDC supporters in Hurungwe.

As the nation remembered fallen heroes, Malvern Muzivoreva MZ is among unsung heroes’ of our time, concluded Kuchekwa.

 

August 14, 2017

Call for measures to curb TB, Art defaults

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:42 pm
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GLORIA Mudhingo (45) looks happy as she goes about her work in the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV and Aids consultation rooms at Zvimba Rural Clinic, a few kilometres away from Murombedzi business centre.
 

BY NHAU MANGIRAZI

Clad in a yellow dress and a red jersey, the heavily-built mother of two looks like any other villager as health officials at the clinic are all clad in their uniforms.

She looks like the odd one out when other village women are scattered around the nearby business centre selling vegetables, fruit and second-hand clothes.

As a group of health journalists on a provincial media tour arrive, Mudhingo is about to dash off to Masiyarwa village located 10km away.

Although the media tour is focusing on TB issues, Mudhingo believes her side of the story must be heard.

“TB cases are now surpassing those of HIV but in reality when someone is diagnosed of HIV, he or she remains a suspect in contracting TB. We must work as a community in addressing these issues, but we are facing the challenge of defaulters around here,” Mudhingo, who is the Community Linkages facilitator, says.

Her roles include making follow-ups on patients on anti-retroviral therapy (Art), who are supposed to adhere to their treatment regime to suppress their viral loads.

But for Mudhingo, too many defaulters in the communal areas of Zvimba district are breaking her heart.

“We have had 70 defaulters since January and this figure is alarming, as we have targets, as a nation on HIV matters,” she said.

Mudhingo, who has been living with HIV since 2006, says she wants to lead by example.

“Being HIV positive is a condition that we cannot wish away. Once you are positive, it is part of your life. We must train many of our members of the community to understand it better. The main challenges we face in making follow-ups are that some HIV patients did not disclose their status to close relatives and family members,” she said.

Mudhingo suggests that it is imperative that HIV+ people should be part of support groups, as this will ease the burden of thinking that they are family outcasts.

“I am a member of the Positive Women Support group here in Zvimba. As a family, we are supportive of each other’s needs and challenges on both social and health matters. No one can live as an island, so we must talk to each other,” Mudhingo said.

Zvimba Rural Clinic, established in 1957, has a catchment area for 107 981 people and has 370 TB patients, according to the senior nurse-in-charge, Elias Nyama.

HIV and Aids consultant, Mucha Cynthia Mukamuri attributes defaulting to several factors, including when patients begin to feel better and discontinue treatment.

“This is a reflection of lack of information when patients commence Art. Stigma continues to exist in our communities. Some people are not comfortable with being seen taking medication or they just become too busy,” she said.

“In some cases, the distances travelled to collect medicines can be prohibitive. The waiting period at the facility also compounds the problem. Some people are not patient to wait or their jobs are too demanding to make it easy for them to take their medication.”

Mukamuri, however, said realisation that one was HIV positive could be overwhelming, triggering fear and worry.

“This comes as a shock. It can bring feelings of anger, fear, regret and even panic that are often hard to contain. It is normal to feel this way, but there is need to seriously reflect and accept the situation and take the necessary steps with support from both family and service providers,” she said.

Mukamuri said committing to take treatment was the first big step, which included getting the requisite information about the condition.

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director, Itai Rusike said defaulters had to live with the stress of an untreated disease that put them at risk of further illness or death.

“People living with HIV are expected to remain adherent to treatment and are labelled ‘defaulters’ when they don’t,” he explained.

“The basic pillar of any public health system is the supply of medicine to clinics and hospitals, and stock-outs are indicative of a bigger problem related to management and accountability.”

Rusike said there was need for eating healthy, exercising, getting adequate rest and early treatment for any opportunistic infections if a person was to successfully manage HIV.

“Most facility level stock-outs are not a result of supply shortages, but of poor management of the distribution of medicines. The government should fully fund strong, accountable, community-based treatment literacy and adherence support along with strong social protection programmes,” he said.

Rusike concurred with Mukamuri that stigma and discrimination undermined HIV prevention efforts by making people afraid to reveal their status, seek HIV information, services and modalities to reduce their risk of infection.

“Fear of stigma and discrimination, which can also be linked to fear of violence, discourages people living with HIV from disclosing their status even to family members and sexual partners and undermines their ability and willingness to access and adhere to treatment,” he said.

“Thus, stigma and discrimination weaken the ability of individuals and communities to protect themselves from HIV and to stay healthy if they are living with HIV.”

Rusike said patients were relatively dependent on public services for Art and faced difficulties in affording prices in private pharmacies.

“There are logistics and supply chain management challenges, stock-outs of HIV test kits and medicines, inadequately decentralised paediatric Art services and Art initiation for children, unpredictable external funding and inadequate private sector reporting,” he said.

Rusike said Zimbabwe had made great progress from being among countries with the highest HIV prevalences in the region, but expressed concern that gender dynamics still played a big role in infection patterns.

“High gender differentials in HIV suggest that social norms and behaviours continue to put young females at risk. There have been significant improvements in service availability, although with shortfalls in continuity of medicine supplies. These shortfalls need to be addressed together with access to food and gender inequality so that Aids does not become a disease of poverty,” the CWGH boss said.

“While the policies, institutions and programmes are in place to respond to prevention, treatment and care needs, resources are still lacking for the scale-up required.
Additional measures are needed to promote uptake among vulnerable groups.”

Rusike said supply, cost and access barriers to paediatric treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services in rural, low-income populations needed to be addressed.

Mukamuri also noted that nutrition played a critical role in HIV management.

“There is need for eating healthy, exercise, adequate rest, early treatment for any opportunistic infections and a stress-free life if a person is to get better from HIV-related illness,” he said.

United Nations targets by 2020 are that at least 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

By the same year, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving anti-retroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Should this happen, then Mudhingo will keep on smiling, as the number of defaulters goes down.

Spirited efforts underway to lighten TB burden

Filed under: Feature,health — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:36 pm
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DEREK Banda’s wasted body shakes as he coughs. For a moment, he struggles to speak before a very faint voice echoes from him, his face registering desperation.

 

BY NHAU MANGIRAZI

He used to be a robust man as confirmed by a picture framed against the wall in this dimly lit room of his house in Alaska Mine compound, which has been nicknamed the Dark City because of lack of electricity.

Banda, a widower, is looking after five grandchildren whose parents succumbed to HIV-related illnesses.

To compound his misery, Banda was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), following three weeks of persistent dry cough and sweating during the night.

“I started sweating during the night and had a persistent cough that made it difficult for me to sleep. In fact, my 14-year-old grandson thought I was about to die. I could not walk for a long distance because of breathing challenges. It was really tough for me,” explained Banda.

He said that besides his suspicion that he was suffering from another incurable disease, a former workmate encouraged him to be tested for TB.

“Although I am a renal patient, one of my friends asked me to get tested for TB. He assured me that TB can be treated,” Banda said.

Banda, like many former mine workers, is living in abject poverty after losing his job as an underground miner at Mhangura Mine.

Three months into the treatment regime, he is showing signs of recovery and has become a living testimony that TB can be cured.

Banda recalls how his life took a downturn when he was transferred from Mhangura copper mine 20 years ago and settled at Alaska Mine, 15km west of Chinhoyi in 2000.

Soon after he was diagnosed of TB, Banda confessed that taking medication was deterred by lack of food, since he is unemployed.

“I am in dire need of food supplies since the tablets that I am taking demand a balanced diet,” Banda said.

For him and many others, Alaska mine smelting plant was the major source of employment, along with its sister mine – Shackleton – but the two have been idle following the shutdown in 2001.

TB thrives in poor socio-economic conditions, where people live in overcrowded homes, have poor nutrition, high rates of smoking and where other health conditions such as HIV and Aids are commonplace.

The risk factors for tuberculosis read like a summary of the living conditions of Alaska.

A former worker Joseph Phiri recalled that Mhangura Copper Mine had strong links for them.

“The mine closures brought a lot of unhappiness here, and at Shackleton mines. Nearly 100 men out of the 254 former mine workers retrenched in 2001 have already died at Alaska alone. The majority are terminally,” said Phiri, adding that the situation continues to deteriorate.

Former motor electrician and Alaska workers’ representative, Roger Mlotshwa, said many former miners are now destitute after being exposed to highly toxic chemicals in mines.
“Some workers suffer from lung diseases such as pneumoconiosis,” he said.

Pneumococcus is an occupational lung and a restrictive lung disease caused by inhaling organic and inorganic dusts retained in the lungs.

Jobs associated with the disease include asbestos mining, fabric manufacturing, quarry mining, sandblasting and stone cutting.

According to SafAids media manual on TB and HIV TB transmission occurs indoors.

“An individual risk of exposure is determined by the concentration in contaminated air and length of time a person breathes that air. The risk is high when one has had close and prolonged indoor exposure with the affected person suffering from TB as it will affect approximately 10 and 15 people per year,” the manual in part read.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care has called on urgent need to put TB on the political agenda.

Presenting its findings to Parliament recently, the committee noted that TB among artisanal miners should be a top priority issue that needs to be addressed with the urgency it deserves. State must move in to fund treatment, the committee recommended.

The MPs described the 7% budget allocation towards TB as a mockery saying the disease was a public health threat.

In light of the increased TB risk in mining communities among other at risk population, the ministry supported by USaid’s Challenge TB and Global Fund, embarked on a TB targeted screening initiative by getting into communities at risk of infections as they sought to find all missing TB cases.

Funded to the tune of over $1 million, the programme has seen the ministry setting up mobile clinics in high risk communities.

According to the ministry, high risk communities include people living in mining areas, prisons, people living with HIV, diabetic, health care workers and the elderly; hence the approach has seen them getting into such communities.

International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) country director, Christopher Zishiri, said his organisation is carrying out targeted screening for active TB in communities that are at high risk including former mine workers and those in the mining sector through the targeted screening for active TB among high risk groups project.
“These people are receiving free chest X-rays and consultations by a medical doctor. In addition, they are also being tested for HIV and diabetes mellitus which also increase their risk of developing TB,” he said.

He added that this year 18 prioritised districts from all the 10 provinces will be screened.

“To date former mine workers and those in the mining sector (both formal and informal) and other high risk communities from 13 districts namely Mazowe, Bindura, Gwanda, Umzingwane, Makonde, Chegutu, Mutasa, Shurugwi, Kwekwe, Bulawayo, Bubi, Nkayi and Matopos have been screened for TB and those diagnosed initiated on appropriate treatment at their nearest health facilities,” Zishiri said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Zimbabwe is among the few countries battling 80 to 85% of the global TB, TB-HIV and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). The global body says TB is one of the world’s most deadly diseases, killing three people every minute.

In 2015, the prevalence of TB in the country was 292 cases per 100 000 populations. Every year, 9 million people develop TB, and 1,5 million die from the disease as it is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. WHO report in March 2017 say 10,4 million people fell ill with TB and 1,8 million died from the disease in 2015. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to WHO.

With the Health ministry and other stakeholders’ commitment to end TB by 2030, better strides have been made to eradicate TB with former mine workers like Banda being beneficiaries of the success story.

Newsday.co.zw

Chikangwe maternity wing in limbo

Filed under: Feature,health — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:31 pm
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DONATED goods, such as refrigerators, scanning machines and delivery bedding for expecting mothers, are gathering dust at the Chikangwe proposed 24-hour maternity wing since 2015 due to financial and water crises.

BY NHAU MANGIRAZI

Chikangwe 24-Hour Clinic

Zim-Health, a non-governmental organisation from Netherlands, donated the goods to ease maternal health challenges in Karoi town, covering Chikangwe and Claudia suburbs, as well as the Nyama resettlement area and was expected to benefit 15 000 women.

A maternity wing was established to assist expecting mothers before referring them to Karoi District Hospital, catering for 32 outlying clinics in a district with a 329 197-strong population, according to the 2012 national census.

The official opening of the wing has been staggered due to lack of coordination from senior officials and financial resources coupled by the worsening water crisis affecting the farming town situated about 204 km north-west of Harare.

The problems have been blamed on lack of coordination within the municipality’s management, with one councillor claiming that the council approved the employment of midwives, who have “a dark past”.

The ministry of Health and Child Care reportedly demanded that the community hall be fenced before it could authorise the use of the maternity wing, but nothing was done.

Two full council meetings were postponed in May, as policy makers wanted a briefing on the progress from the housing department.

According to the June full council minutes, Ward 1 councillor, Travolta Matekenya raised concern that the facility was yet to become functional long after the set deadline and this was prejudicing residents.

Sha Mujuruki responded that there had been no progress made.

“She (Mujuruki) said nothing had changed and everything was at a standstill and work was still pending since management had not discussed anything pertaining to financing for the maternity wing,” read the minutes in part.

Matekenya further asked about the challenges being faced since most goods were donated and council input was minimal, but the director argued that financial challenges were the hindrance.

Matekenya, however, argued that the real problem was “lack of commitment and incompetence on management’s part”.

Health officials at Karoi district and Chinhoyi provincial hospitals were evasive on the matter.

“We are only witnessing pregnant women registering here for antenatal and postnatal care. We do not know how they would have delivered, as the clinic is still to offer the service here,” a source close to the development said.

The maternity wing is currently being used by breastfeeding mothers, who are on antiretroviral therapy and a recent visit revealed that it has not been working as a maternity wing, with three beds in the other room gathering dust, while scores of other donated materials are locked in another room.

“We had a challenge of a sink. It was installed, but nothing has been done to show commitment on when the maternity wing will be opened,” another source said.

A seven-member commission appointed by Environment Water and Climate ministry to see if council had the capacity to take over water from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority recently was informed that the maternity wing could not be officially opened because of water challenges.

Karoi Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Freck Kuchekwa expressed concern over lack of progress on the facility.

“We are concerned that expecting mothers have to use a district referral hospital, when donated goods are gathering dust because there is no water to make it function,” he said.

Karoi Town Council town clerk, Wellington Mutikani said the council would soon use the public health and amenities cross-cutting team to investigate the matter.

“Public health is council’s priority and issues of maternal health cannot be overlooked,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey says at least 20% of Zimbabwean births for the last five years were home deliveries, which have a negative impact on maternal mortality.

Maternal mortality occurs when a woman dies while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy.

The causes maybe related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes and the Karoi scenario aptly points to one such potential case.-  newsday.co.zw

July 27, 2017

Solar energy comes to the rescue of jazz musician

Filed under: Arts,Feature,Renewable Energy — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:58 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi

Twenty-two year  old Moses Munatsa is an upcoming jazz musician based in Caledonia Phase 10 about 20 kilometres east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

“It used to be a challenge as I had to travel into town or visit relatives in Mabvuku where there is electricity to do my recordings over the phone. To date, I have done over 50 songs (that are) yet to be recorded officially.  I normally use my smartphone for that and the battery does not last long,” he says.

As is the case with  several youths and women resettled in Ward 25 Caledonia in Harare East, Munatsa faced challenges in accessing better facilities including electricity.

However, he now smiles in the comfort of their three-roomed house where he is recording his songs with ease and without thinking of transport fares into the city centre or visiting relatives to access electricity.

Caledonia currently faces an identity crisis with Harare East Member of Parliament Terrence Mukupe claiming it is within his jurisdiction while the local councillor Dereck Malifundi, reports to Goromonzi Rural District Council within Goromonzi South Constituency represented by Member of Parliament Petronella Kagonye.

“We currently do not have electricity here but we are using small solar powered panels to access radio (signals) as well as charging our phones. With that, I am recording my music on my phone regularly without any challenges,” he says.

Those resettled in Caledonia since 2000, have not benefited from the electrification programme.

‘We have seen the poles and wires that were installed but nothing has been done to bring power into our homes. We are getting  … alternative (energy) through small solar panels that we use as clean energy for lights, radio and charging our phones,” said a local teacher.

Thirty-three year old Gladys Banda of Phase 3, admits that lack of electricity has been a challenge for many people here.

“The majority of us had no homes of our own in the city centre. We needed a roof over our heads and we hoped that electricity would soon be connected in our area,” says Banda, a mother of three.

Councilor Malifundi agrees the ward is still developing and faces many challenges in the form of roads, clinics and schools, among others.

‘We hope things will move according to our plans. We are aware of the electricity challenges, but better days are coming,” he said without shedding much light on future plans.

Meanwhile, Kagonye admits the ward faces numerous challenges since it emerged as an unplanned settlement. The ward started off with nearly 5,000 stands in 2000. The figure has since risen to 54,000 stands and an estimated population of 100 000.

‘There has never been infrastructure provision including that of water and electricity. We have a high concentration of people … including a co-operative of the physically challenged with more than 250 members.

“As a result, women suffer more as fuel wood is no longer readily accessible. Generally, use of solar powered small panels has been the solution in most homes for lighting and charging mobile phones,” she said.

Kagonye said the community should embrace renewable energy alternatives such as solar and biogas.  This would be a better solution than having to wait to be connected to the national grid which is already struggling to service connected areas.

Munyaradzi Kaundikiza, an environmentalist, said energy is the key input in the socio-economic growth of communities and the nation at large. He said there is a close link between availability of energy and the growth of a nation.

Firewood smoke kills

By Nhau Mangirazi

HURUNGWE–  Without energy, small and medium enterprises cannot function at maximum capacity. Without energy, industry cannot survive. Without energy, women and girls will continue to spend long hours looking for fuel sources, and will not have jobs – United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, Director General, Kandeh K. Yumkella April 2013.

When Yumkella made these remarks he had many of the rural women worldwide in mind, but the Zimbabwean scenario also fits into this situation.

This is the reality gripping most women and girls in both rural and urban areas due to lack of alternative clean renewable energy such as solar, hydro or biogas which forces them to rely on firewood as a source of energy.

For  granny Chiedza Mapanga who is asthmatic, deep chesty coughs that keep her awake at night and wreck her chest even when laughing, shortness of breath among other related signs, life has been ‘normal’ as a woman living in a rural area and surviving on firewood for energy.

For the past 30 years, Mapanga, who has been battling this health problem without any signs of recovery, says she has a duty as a ”mother and grandmother” taking care of her family that includes a 22-year old daughter and five grandchildren left behind by her eldest son who died a few years ago.

She coughs deeply as she blows into the fire to lighten the rather dark grass thatched hut in Mayamba outpost village under headman Chawora and Chief Chundu, 85 kilometres north of Karoi town in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West Province.

As granny Mapanga looks up to welcome her visitors, her watery eyes tells a story of how she has suffered in the three decades she has been holed here as a communal farmer using firewood as a source of energy for both cooking and lighting during the night.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, asthma is ranked at 21 among the top 50 causes of death in Zimbabwe where HIV and Aids leads.

The World Health Organisation says air pollution, second-hand tobacco smoke and indoor mould and dampness make asthma more severe in children, elderly persons and people with compromised immune systems.

”In households without access to basic services, such as safe water and sanitation, or that are smoky due to the use of unclean fuels, such as coal or dung, children are at an increased risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia,” says the report released in March this year.

It further states: ‘‘Harmful exposures can start in the mother’s womb and increase the risk of premature birth. Additionally, when infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.”

WHO adds that every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under five years globally.

She is among several thousands of rural Zimbabwean women who have seen clean renewable energy eluding them since independence. Instead they carry the burden of health complications.

Her homestead situated about 10 kilometres from Mayamba business centre in Hurungwe, together with the majority of villagers in that area, relies on firewood as the only source of energy.  Only a few use small solar panels to charge batteries for radios and lights.

This is one business centre that was not on the cards of the government sponsored Rural Electrification Agency programme that was initiated at Chitindiva business centre about 25 kilometres away.

Mapanga says although she cannot afford medication for her condition, she still has to fend for her grandchildren.

‘‘I have endured these hard times with this asthmatic condition. Women must be strong against all odds,’’ she says her face contorting with the pain she has endured.

She is a silent victim of indoor pollution, killing millions of women and girls globally.

According to the International Institute of Sustainable Development, IISD, report in 2013, illnesses from indoor pollution result in deaths of more women and children annually than HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and malnutrition combined.

The World Health Organisation, WHO says 4.3 million people die every year from exposure to household air pollution.

‘‘Of the estimated two million annual deaths attributed to indoor air pollution generated by fuels such as coal, wood, charcoal and dung, 85% are women and children who die from cancer, acute respiratory infections and lung disease,’’ says the report.

Wellington Madumira of Zero Regional office says there is need to capacitate the rural populace in renewable energy use. ‘‘It is sensible that we must have sustainable energy as it props our livelihoods at family and the community at large. It further boosts businesses to grow and create jobs thereby securing a viable economy,’’ says Madumira.

According to the Ministry of Energy, the main sources of energy used in Zimbabwe are coal, fuel wood, electricity, petroleum fuels and renewable energy.

Blessing Jonga, the Principal Energy Development Officer in the Ministry of Energy says Government is promoting clean and sustainable energy that does not pollute the environment and is not a health threat.

He added that the Ministry is advocating for use of domestic biogas digester systems to provide energy for cooking, lighting and refrigeration, among other uses.

”There are institutional biogas programmes targeting institutions like boarding schools and hospitals for cooking energy as well as efficient wood stoves to construct this technology that uses less wood and directs smoke outside, leaving the kitchen clean’’ says Jonga.

He says that they are also promoting portable tsotso (twigs) stoves, a technology that uses less firewood, produces less smoke and enables communities to preserve trees.

However, the real challenge still remains that of  providing clean and modern energy to the remaining 67 percent of the country’s 13 million lives in the rural areas, according to the 2012 national Census.

Until then, for granny  Mapanga, renewable energy remains pie in the sky. As the case with many women and children among the country’s rural populace, she is being slowly smoked to death.

Windmill boreholes change lives for Hurungwe community

By Nhau Mangirazi

Forty-six year old Reverend Agnes Chida does not regret being transferred from Harare to the rural outskirts of Hurungwe in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West province in 2014.

Rev Chida is married to Rev Shepard Chida and both serve under the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. They have twin sets of children aged 13 and 19. They live at Chivakanenyama about 60 kilometres West of Karoi.

‘We are enjoying a good life as we are assured of clean water anytime of the day as long as there is wind. Water is readily available and life is simple for us. We have an all-year irrigation facility for our garden, maize field and chicken run,’’ she said beaming with pride.

About 100 meters from their homestead, is a windmill borehole that was installed in 1996 by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.  Nearly 200 households are benefitting from the windmill borehole.

Livestock is also benefitting from the available water trench.

As an alternative source of clean energy, the windmill borehole has proved that it can sustain the livelihoods of communities through access to clean water for domestic use and irrigation among other needs.

The windmill borehole which is situated a few meters from the main tarred road linking Magunje and Zvipani under Headman Matawu is a source of inspiration for communities benefiting from renewable energy here.

It captures the visitor’s eye as it is visible from a distance. “Even tourists going to either Nyaminyami or Gokwe, pass through here and get water. No one is charged for the water as water is a God-given natural resource,” added Rev Agnes.

The borehole is used by children from the local primary and secondary schools, the local church and the community at large.

Chivakanenyama Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Hurungwe built by missionaries in 1952 while a secondary school was built in 1966. Currently, there are more than 700 pupils at the primary school and more than 300 attending the secondary school.

Rev Chida explained that the windmill borehole pumps water into two 5,000- litre tanks and another 10,000-litre tank.

‘We are mostly likely to have green maize in August as we are preparing the fields,’ said Rev Agnes Chida. They have an orchard of mangoes, bananas and guava trees.

“The water table is good for us as a community as it is 40 meters deep … so we are assured of water even during drought years,” her husband said.

Joyce Zata, 53, of Ruzende village about three kilometres away, is happy they have access to clean water.

“Unlike in some areas where the water is contaminated as people share it with animals, this windmill borehole has been a good solution to us,” said Zata.

Another villager, Theresa Mapara of Murimbika village agreed that it is good for them as women as they do their laundry chores at the borehole without any challenges.

Headman Chigango said although he is happy with windmill borehole, he is, however, worried by cases of vandalism committed by some members of the community.

‘Our main challenge is that some members of the community have vandalised the windmill of late and … this affects everyone,’’ said Chigango.

Rev Agnes Chida admitted that this was the biggest challenge they are facing.

‘Not everyone understands community ownership in its true sense and we have to endure such challenges. At one time, someone stripped it of some bolts and we had to seek donations to have it repaired,” she said.

Hurungwe Rural District Ward 25 councillor, under whom the area falls, Lovemore Mushawashi, said the availability of water to the communities proves that the some of the rural folk may achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 6.

The Goal calls for policymakers to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

“We may be facing challenges about water and sanitation in our communities but the windmill borehole has proven that it can be easily achieved through natural resources and clean energy,” said Mushawashi in an interview.

 

Zambezi biodiversity project may assist rural women

Filed under: Feature,health — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:49 am
Tags: , , ,

By Nhau Mangirazi

HURUNGWE- Twenty two year old Ratidzo Hungwe of Muchini village in Hurungwe ward 25, Chief Dandawa looks depressed.

She is eight months pregnant and has not registered yet at at Zvipani clinic about 25 kilometers away.

Her story is the reality gripping many pregnant women villagers here some travelling for over 50 kilometers to access a health facility.

For pregnant women it is worse as the country battles to control maternal health rate currently pegged at 614 per 100 000 births reduced from 960 in 2015.

Of course its mandatory to register at clinics on time  but we do not have the $10 to spare for that. This the the third child am expecting and it is just normal to go there when I am ready to give birth,’ she said with confidence.

Hurungwe Rural District Council, HRDC, gender mainstream officer, Alice Paraziwa-Maponga has passion to see things changing for the better for women like Ratidzo.

She believes a biodiversity project currently on consultation must benefit women and girl child in particular.

The initiative Strengthening biodiversity and ecosystem management and climate smart partnership landscapes in the mid to lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe, will start next year and will run until 2024.

The project is aimed at maintaining sustainable biodiversity.

‘This is a positive development for women as they are the major victims of human-wildlife conflict here. It will empower women and the girl child in general as they are victims of human and animal conflict. Women must be involved at planning stages as they are also likely to suffer due to lack of water.

“We call upon implementers to consider sinking of boreholes and rigs for better water and sanitation among other commitments. This will empower women and girl child in the long run,’’ said Paraziwa-Maponga.

Global Environment Facility

Hurungwe is among three local authorities including Mbire and Muzarabani set to benefit from a $10 million injection from Global Environment Facility, GEF, with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) monitoring the implementation process.

There will be a core financing of $52 million from local partners including from Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate Change including department of National Parks among other stakeholders.

Paraziwa-Maponga said money accrued from the projects would economically empower the girl child through entrepreneurship trainings and nutrition gardens since the district’s livelihoods are agro-based.

‘Women and the girl child are greatly disadvantaged due to lack of quality education. On social services and amenities, we look forward to seeing renovation of dilapidated clinics in outlying rural communities and building of more clinics that will assist pregnant women who normally walk for more than 70 kilometers to access a health facility. That has a negative impact on the maternal health of our communities,’’ she said.   

According to the 2012 National Census, the district had a population of 329 197 and with a 3 percent annual growth projection, the population could now be around 390 000.

Participants during a recent stakeholders meeting held in Magunje about 35 kilometers west of Karoi town agreed that there is critical need to curb animal and human conflict.

Some highlighted that there is need for the communities to be ‘empowered and such projects where issues of environment, animals and human are discussed’  

Traditional leaders including Chiefs, headmen, heads of Government departments were among participants.

Hurungwe district administrator, Friend Ngirazi, said all stakeholders should come on board and share ideas about the project.

‘We are gathered here to discuss issues that affect communities but we must be frank to each other and map the way forward truthfully,” said Ngirazi.

Engage communities

Council chairman Tichaona Matthew said for Strengthening biodiversity and ecosystem management and climate smart partnership landscapes in the mid to lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe project to be a success, communities must own it from inception.

‘As policymakers we are not against any developmental projects, but we feel short-changed when communities do not own these projects. Although the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources, Campfire, was a success story as it left tangible evidence including clinics, schools and better roads maintenance through proceeds accrued, it was later rejected when communities felt they were being side-lined.

“That is the challenges we must address before we engage the communities and they must own (Strengthening biodiversity and ecosystem management and climate smart partnership landscapes in the mid to lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe) project. We must not impose it on them,’ said Matthew.

Council chief executive officer Joram Moyo said there is need for political will from policy makers.

The project will cover at least 40,000 square kilometers in Hurungwe that still boasts of elephants, cheetahs, hyenas and lions among other animals.

It will cover six of the 26 wards and is likely to revive some conservancies that had been vandalised while animals were driven out due to rampant poaching soon after the land reform in 2000.

For women like Ratidzo who are suffering in silence to access health facility, the biodiversity project may soon revive hope and reduce the country maternal health challenges.

HIV gala revives dreams of late Madzibaba Jazzman Magunje

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:47 am

By Nhau Mangirazi
MAGUNJE- Sir Philip Sidney once said: ‘They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts’

When National Aids Council, Nac official Rumbidzai Manatsa mooted the idea of Ministry of Health spearheading Magunje Aids gala, some took it as a daydream.

It was a tall order and few understood it well.

Unknown to her and other partners was that the late Mhosva Marasha aka Biggie Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa kept their fingers closed and smiling in their graves.

For the late Hurungwe music icon it was time for their kith and kin to enjoy music near their rural homes. It is here where they were raised before venturing to the modern world but came back to be buried here.

Prince Tendai the ‘Character’ hit maker body lies under Mupfurutsa  village a few kilometers from the venue- Magunje stadium.

Likewise, Tembo who led the Bhundu Boys is buried in Hurungwe.

Both made music lovers happy during their lifetime as Tembo’s band was the first to tour United Kingdom while Prince Tendai’ Barbed wire music, the first genre before Zimdancehall came up nearly two decades later made international impact  musically.

These two musicians are smiling in their graves following the successful musical gala recently.

It was a revival when the crowd sang along Fred Manjalina aka Kapfupi,  Freeman’s real name Energy Sylvester Chizanga and Blessing Shumba who drove all the way from Mutate to entertain the crowd.

But hold on, another late legendary artist is smiling broader as his dream was fulfilled.

This is none other than the late actor, poet and Aids activist Eliot Magunje known as Madzibaba Jazzman in Paraffin drama series who passed on April 2003.

His body lies near Kemureza dam near Magunje growth point.

He is among few of Zimbabweans to openly come out about his HIV-positive status and was influential in promoting better health for people living with HIV/Aids in the country.

Magunje had a dream when access to testing was limited besides stigma associated by disclosure then.

He was angry that drugs to prolong life on HIV patients were too expensive.

By then, late Magunje’s dream was never understood but it was literally accomplished at the weekend when at least 800 people were tested and counselled about HIV and Aids for free.

This is besides over 150 women who underwent Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera, or VIAC- an effective way to prevent cervical cancer in women age 30-50 years old.

About 60 people were tested on Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI while over 100 women got family planning services that came close to their villages.

Even pensioners had a chance to inquire on services provided by National Social Security Authority among other services.

Sixty seven Rogers Matanha of Mupingashato village said the gala could have been good to honor local talented musicians on such events.

‘We hope the organizers will get to understand historical background of the area and associate it with current events.  It was going to be good to mention Magunje as pioneer on advocacy for free testing here in Hurungwe.  While Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa are gone, they remain our musical heroes’

Nac communication manager Madeline Dube said music galas are making an impact on the society as they offer HIV and AIDS services to the community in a more relaxed manner.

‘We are now offering better services to males who are often left out by other health programmes. As Nac, we are providing HIV and AIDS services in a comprehensive manner under one roof ‘one stop shop” approach’, said Dube.

Worth mentioning

Hurungwe district medical officer Doctor Annamore Mutisi said there no one on Antiretroviral Therapy, ART with 28 558 people accessing it for free.

‘Zimbabwe has identified sex workers, youths, long distance truck drivers, artisanal miners and prisoners as key populations that need more and targeting prevention interventions. It is worth mentioning  that these groups are predominant in Hurungwe. More efforts need to be done so that we close the gap in new infections. Its no longer going to be business as usual,’ said Mutisi.

The gala held under the theme Closing the tap on new HIV infection, indeed made dreams of the late Magunje become a reality.

June 26, 2017

Hurungwe Aids gala- when the dead smile and dreams fulfilled

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:19 am
Tags: , , , ,

By Nhau Mangirazi

MAGUNJE– Sir Philip Sidney once said: ‘They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts’

When Karoi based National Aids Council, Nac official Rumbidzai Manatsa mooted the idea of Ministry of Health spearheading Magunje Aids gala, some took it as a daydream.

It was a tall order and few understood it well.

biggie-tembo-music-videos

The late Biggie Tembo

Unknown to her and other partners was that the late Mhosva Marasha aka Biggie Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa kept their fingers closed and smiling in their graves.

For the late Hurungwe music icon it was time for their kith and kin to enjoy music near their rural homes. It is here where they were raised before venturing to the modern world but came back to be buried here.

Prince Tendai the ‘Character’ hit maker body lies under Mupfurutsa  village a few kilometers from the venue- Magunje stadium.

Likewise, Tembo who led the Bhundu Boys is buried in Hurungwe.

Both made music lovers happy during their lifetime as Tembo’s band was the first to tour United Kingdom while Prince Tendai’ Barbed wire music, the first genre before Zimdancehall came up nearly two decades later made international impact musically.

Tendai Mupfutsa

The late Tendai Mupfurutsa

These two musicians are smiling in their graves following the successful musical gala recently.

It was a revival when the crowd sang along Fred Manjalina aka Kapfupi,  Freeman’s real name Energy Sylvester Chizanga and Blessing Shumba who

drove all the way from Mutate to entertain the crowd.

But hold on, another late legendary artist is smiling broader as his dream was fulfilled.

This is none other than the late actor, poet and Aids activist Eliot Magunje known as Madzibaba Jazzman in Paraffin drama series who passed on April 2003.

His body lies near Kemureza dam near Magunje growth point.

He is among few of Zimbabweans to openly come out about his HIV-positive status and was influential in promoting better health for people living with HIV/Aids in the country.

Magunje had a dream when access to testing was limited besides stigma associated by disclosure then.

He was angry that drugs to prolong life on HIV patients were too expensive.

By then, late Magunje’s dream was never understood but it was literally accomplished at the weekend when at least 800 people were tested and counselled about HIV and Aids for free.

This is besides over 150 women who underwent Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera, or VIAC- an effective way to prevent cervical cancer in women age 30-50 years old.

About 60 people were tested on Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI while over 100 women got family planning services that came close to their villages.

Even pensioners had a chance to inquire on services provided by National Social Security Authority among other services.

Sixty seven Rogers Matanha of Mupingashato village said the gala could have been good to honor local talented musicians on such events.

‘We hope the organizers will get to understand historical background of the area and associate it with current events.  It was going to be good to mention Magunje as pioneer on advocacy for free testing here in Hurungwe.  While Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa are gone, they remain our musical heroes’

Nac communication manager Madeline Dube said music galas are making an impact on the society as they offer HIV and AIDS services to the community in a more relaxed manner.

‘We are now offering better services to males who are often left out by other health programmes. As Nac, we are providing HIV and AIDS services in a comprehensive manner under one roof ‘one stop shop” approach’, said Dube.

Hurungwe district medical officer Doctor Annamore Mutisi said there no one on Antiretroviral Therapy, ART with 28 558 people accessing it for free.

‘Zimbabwe has identified sex workers, youths, long distance truck drivers, artisanal miners and prisoners as key populations that need more and targeting prevention interventions. It is worth mentioning  that these groups are predominant in Hurungwe. More efforts need to be done so that we close the gap in new infections. Its no longer going to be business as usual,’ said Mutisi.

The gala held under the theme Closing the tap on new HIV infection, indeed made dreams of the late Magunje become a reality.

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