FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday paid a surprise visit at Harare Central Hospital to get an appreciation of problems plaguing the health institution as well as acquaint herself with its operations.During her unannounced visit, Amai Mnangagwa was appraised of the challenges facing the hospital during informal interactions with unsuspecting patients and members of staff, most of whom did not recognise her. She expressed optimism that the 2018 National Budget to be announced today will address some of the budgetary constraints affecting good service delivery.
"You are doing great work caring for our patients despite the shortage of resources. I am sure you are aware of the prevailing economic situation in the country. I hope that some of the critical problems facing the institution will be addressed in the forthcoming National Budget when resources are allocated," she said.
"The purpose of my visit is to have an appreciation of the hospital's operations. I am happy. I was impressed by the cordial patient-staff relationship and cleanliness in the hospital," she added.
The central hospital, also known as Gomo, is the busiest hospital in Zimbabwe, offering services to over 1 200 in-patients and 900 out-patients/casualties daily. The hospital has 22 wards in the general hospital, a large maternity hospital, a psychiatric unit, as well as a tropical diseases unit.
Apart from being the country's First Lady, Amai Mnangagwa is also the National Assembly Member for Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency. Throughout her tour of the hospital's units, she consistently preached the message of hope and hard work. She also urged mothers to take good care of their children as they were the future leaders.
The First Lady visited the out-patients, paediatric, maternity and nursery units. She concluded her tour at the transport section, where she was briefed about the serious perennial transport shortage for both patients and staff.
"We only have two old ambulances which are not well-equipped to cater for our inter-hospital transfers. The situation is bad. The other ambulances are down. We also used to transport our staff home, but now we can only take them to the city because of our depleted fleet," said the hospital's chief executive, Ms Peggy Zvavamwe.