Government steps in to help Entumbane crash tragedy family
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is engaging 18 private health institutions to turn their facilities into vaccination centres as the province scales up the inoculation drive.
Yesterday the city added five vaccination points to the existing 22.
Since the city embarked on a mass vaccination drive for all residents last week, about 6 000 people are getting vaccinated daily and authorities are confident that Bulawayo could achieve herd immunity soon.
The city is targeting to vaccinate at least 400 000 residents to achieve herd immunity and has surpassed 100 000 on the first dose.
All 19 BCC clinics and central hospitals have been turned into vaccination centres and yesterday Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the city had added five more institutions for the mass vaccination programme.
He said the institutions are Ekusileni Medical Centre, CIMAS, MASCA, Zimdef situated at VIVAX and the Large City Hall.
Long queues have characterised most of the city’s vaccination centres as health centres struggle to cope with the increasing number of residents who want to be inoculated.
In an interview, Bulawayo health services director Dr Edwin Sibanda said apart from the new five vaccination centres, council is targeting to add 18.
He said the city is taking advantage of the latest Ministry of Health and Child Care circular that private practitioners can charge a nominal fee to inoculate members of the public.
The institutions can charge a nominal fee of injection by doctor of $434,35 and a jab by a more nurse at $220,64.
“We are in the process of adding a further 18 private practitioners with whom we have been working in other vaccination programmes, especially children vaccination. We will start with them and other practitioners who have capacity should come forward,” said Dr Sibanda.
“Remember there is a circular from the Ministry that these people can now charge a small administration fee. So, we might find a few other guys without capacity coming forward requesting to be part of the vaccination centres. We will only allow those that have capacity. As a starting point we are targeting the 18 that we have worked with previously on other vaccination programmes.”
He said that some of the institutions that were named for the new vaccination centres, started inoculating residents last week.
“Those ones have already started working. VIVAX started on Monday and CIMAS started last week. CIMAS vaccinates about 150 per day and VIVAX under Bonvie Medical Aid situated at ZIMDEF Building vaccinates up to 200 people. Currently they are vaccinating for free but even CIMAS and VIVAX can start charging after that circular but have been vaccinating for free,” he said.
Dr Sibanda said the city is opening new vaccination centres to decongest available centres amid concern that most of the available centres are situated within the central business district.
“This will be a relief but there is still a challenge. These centres that we have opened are still within the city centre but people out there in residential areas have fewer of these centres. So, we would want more of the practitioners in high density areas who have capacity to join the vaccination drive to make sure the vaccines are nearer to the people,” said Dr Sibanda.
He said the province was satisfied with its vaccination drive as it is administering at least 6000 doses per day since rolling our mass vaccination.
Dr Sibanda said if there are no glitches the city could reach herd immunity in the next three months.
Dr Sibanda however, said shortage of health officials at council clinics was stalling the city’s vaccination drive.
The country has scaled up the Covid-19 vaccination drive and a delivery of 1,5 million more doses is expected this week.
This comes at a time when Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to surge, resulting in Government decongesting workplaces to minimise the risk of new infections.
The country is targeting to vaccinate 10 million citizens for it to achieve herd immunity.
Attaining herd immunity would propel the country’s return to normalcy.
The private sector is lobbying for mandatory vaccination of citizens as this will save lives while minimising economic disruptions due to intensified lockdowns.—@nqotshili
GOVERNMENT through the Civil Protection Unit has availed support to the Entumbane family which lost five members in a horrific road accident which claimed six lives in Polokwane, South Africa on Saturday.
Of the six, four are siblings from the Mkandla family and their four-year-old grandson.
The deceased were named as Nomasiko Mkandla (33) who died together with her four-year-old son Jayden Moabe, Mluleki Mkandla (30), Thulani Mkandla (26), Mthabisi Mkandla (22) the last born in the family and a malayitsha friend identified as Vusa Makukisi who was accompanying them.
The six died when their car was involved in a head-on collision and during the process another car rammed the side of their car.
They were trapped and emergency services in South Africa had to cut open the car to retrieve them. Three of them died on the spot while Thulani, the car owner and the one who was driving when the accident happened, was thrown out of the vehicle on impact and died in hospital. The grandson died in hospital as well.
Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Judith Ncube said Government has started helping the family.
“We made a presentation to Government, communication was made to our consulate in South Africa so that they can help with paper work. There is also something that is being done to assist the family. It is a difficult and painful situation facing the family but we want to tell them that we are with them in our prayers as a city,” she said.
Cde Ncube said the situation facing the family made them to appeal for assistance from Government because the grief facing the family has touched the whole city.
A Government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it is most likely that the Government will refund the family the amount they would have used to repatriate the bodies from South Africa.
The source said had the accident happened in the country, it would have been easier for the Government to activate its systems to assist the family but with the accident happening outside the country it complicated logistics.
Meanwhile, Doves Holdings Zimbabwe has committed to assist the family when the bodies arrive in the country.
The company`s public relations manager Mr Innocent Tshuma said they were touched by the tragedy which befell the Mkandla family.
Four of the family members were covered under a Doves Funeral policy but the fouryear-old had no cover. The company has said it will absorb burial expenses for the toddler.
“We are deeply saddened by the demise of so many family members in one accident. Our heartfelt condolences to the Mkandla family and the community. One can only but imagine the grief brought by this tragedy. The mother of the four children is our client and we will ensure a dignified send off,” he said.
The councillor for Entumbane, Sinikiwe Mutanda appealed to the city fathers to assist the family by offering free graves or reducing charges for the graves as a way of mourning with the family.
“After deliberating with the family, we wrote a letter to the council which was delivered yesterday. We are still waiting for the response but it is Ubuntu that in such painful situations we come together to assist each other. I hope our plea will be accepted because this is a tragedy,” she said.
Family spokesperson, Ms Nothando Ncube said they are planning to bury their loved ones on Saturday morning in Bulawayo.
“We are touched by the outpouring support we are receiving from all over. It is a difficult situation we are dealing with but the love and support from the community is valuable. Our plan is that the bodies will depart South Africa on Friday ahead of burial on Saturday,” she said.—@themkhust