Health and beer mix
A MEAT donation made by beer manufacturers – Delta Beverages was undeniably one of the hardest the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, has had to accept.
Delta Beverages, through one of its leading brands – Castle Lager, donated 6 140kgs of meat to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo for consumption by patients.
What made the donation difficult to accept was that it was from the country’s leading supplier of alcohol – a product which over time, can take a serious toll on people’s health through conditions such as heart diseases, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure and diabetes among others.
Other than that, the donation had come from an estimated 15 000 people who had excessively imbibed and had a lot of meat at the Biggest Braai Festival in Harare last month.
Twelve thousand two hundred and eight kilogrammes of meat (beef, pork and chicken) were consumed at the braai held for charity to help those admitted in hospital.
Also, Dr Parirenyatwa’s ministry and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe have been raising awareness on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.
But yesterday, the minister had to compromise for the sake of patients and accept the donation which according to him, will save Mpilo about $6 000 per month. The 6 140kgs of meat translate to the hospital’s four-month meat budget.
Addressing guests at the meat handover ceremony, it was clear the minister was having a difficult time accepting the donation as he almost missed the hospital’s gate which had been overwhelmed with Castle Lager banners.
“When I came in through the gate (Mpilo), I was pleasantly surprised that I’m at the right place, but I saw all the posters of Castle Lager and I said is this the real hospital,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
The minister was however, quick to urge people, especially those who imbibe the wise waters, to have a balanced diet with a lot of vegetables, exercise and sleep well.
“When you’re eating, you should have a balanced diet. When you have a meal every day, divide your plate into three. The first half should be vegetables and the other half must be divided into two – carbohydrates (sadza/rice/potatoes) and proteins (meat/beans),” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
“If you’re drinking alcohol, it must be done in a very responsible manner. One unit/pint per day is generous.
“Though by saying this, Delta’s business won’t grow, but the health of the people is very important to us so that people don’t injure their liver, heart and have blood pressure going up unnecessarily. So as we bring goodies, we must be very careful.”
He took a swipe at people from Matabeleland saying they needed to stop eating too much meat since they are known for eating meat with sadza.
Some nurses who spoke to Chronicle on condition of anonymity said they were saddened by the Castle branding at the hospital as some of their patients were in hospital because of excessive drinking.
“In as much as we appreciate the donation by Delta, this branding of theirs does not make me happy as it seems like we’re promoting the consumption of alcohol here.
“Most of our patients, especially during the festive season, imbibe a lot and end up being involved in accidents then they’re brought here,” said the nurse as she collected freebies from Delta before leaving the ceremony in a huff.
To their defence, Delta Beverages said they encourage the responsible consumption of their products at all times. Even their branded tents which proved unpopular at the ceremony had a clear message of the hazards of consuming alcohol excessively.
“As Delta, we care about communities that we operate from and believe in being a force for good.
“We believe in moderate and responsible alcohol consumption as we understand the harm that substance abuse and abuse of alcohol can cause to our population,” said Delta Beverages general manager – Munyaradzi Nyandoroh.
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Mpilo reps displaying Delta meat cheque as Dr Parirenyatwa looks on