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Exploring one of the remotest places in Zimbabwe

This week I am in another district in the Zambezi Valley where Save the Children is working. Nyaminyami is one of the remotest places in Zimbabwe and is ranked the lowest district in the country terms of development. This is brought home when we arrive at the centre where Save has its offices. There has not been any electricity or water here for months now. All the water for the SC staff has to be fetched in bowsers and the office equipment runs on a small generator. The phones are not functioning either and so the only way to communicate with Harare is through a VHF radio.

This makes living and working conditions for the SC staff very difficult, but our partners, especially those in government departments, have a much harder time. They do not have the back up our team have. The local council workers are trying to administer the district with no communications or resources. The district hospital is grappling with cholera but does not have a roadworthy ambulance or power.

I visited one of the wards at the hospital where cholera patients are being treated. The staff had no water at all and the situation was grim. The vehicle they had been using to ferry water had broken down a few days ago. Save the Children was able to help by transporting a bowser of water but this is not a long term solution and does not solve the problem of power, communication and lack of equipment.

To add to the hospital’s woes, I heard a rumour that the only doctor at the hospital has left the district. This is a big blow, although I understand his reasons. He has worked incredibly hard to bring the cholera outbreak under control and has probably worked non-stop since September without any real recognition.

When you meet him he always has a big smile, but when I last visited three weeks ago he looked very tired and told me that he did not know how he would have coped without Save the Children support.  If this rumour is true, he will leave a massive hole in the already desperately poor health services the people of this area receive.

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