STAFF at Sipepa Rural District Hospital in Tsholotsho North, are risking their lives by staying in structures that have been condemned by government as unfit for habitation following the heavy rains that pounded the area during the summer cropping season.
Government, through the department of Public Works, has condemned all staff houses at Sipepa, which means that the health facility must either rehabilitate them or at find alternative accommodation for its staff members.
Due to lack of alternative accommodation, staff at the hospital continues to reside in the unsafe buildings, posing serious danger to the occupants.
Tsholotsho District medical officer Ntombiyakogasa Sithole confirmed the development to the Daily News, describing the situation as dire.
“Staff houses are the worst affected, almost all of them were recently condemned by the public works, which means they are no longer safe for people to occupy,” she said.
The medical officer said the damage inflicted on the structures was so bad that renovating them was no longer an option.
“They are just no longer in good shape. They have huge cracks, which happened as a result of the floods that hit Tsholotsho,” she said, adding that “as a result, the houses now need to be rebuilt”.
” . . . this has forced our cooks to cook outside the hospital building, which is not healthy,” she said.
Sipepa Hospital – under Chief Mathupula – caters for wards 1, 2, 3,4 and 5, with the next accessible health facility being Tsholotsho Hospital, about 75 kilometres away.
It had been home to hundreds of flood victims for months, before they were recently relocated to new stands.
Displaced victims pitched tents in the hospital’s yard, as government and non-governmental organisations collectively took responsibility of their welfare.
Tsholotsho North legislator Jonathan Moyo’s personal assistant, Shepherd Honzeri, told the Daily News that efforts were underway to abate the possible closure.
“We are already seized with the matter and we are working together with the Local Government ministry in trying to ensure that new and proper accommodation is immediately put in place,” he said.
“The Public Works Department has already taken quotations of the costs. Moyo has bought a brick moulding machine and we have already engaged the community in an effort to ensure that we arrest possible disaster.”