Zimbabwe: my first mission for humedica will hopefully not be my last

by Karin Uckrow/RBU,  2010/03/29

"At the end of October 2009, I went on a mission to Zimbabwe for a period of four months, taking over the position of a project coordinator. It was the third phase of the project supported by the German Federal Foreign Office that was run with the objective of offering medical care to the inhabitants of Manicaland Province.

Waiting patients in front of the St. Andrews Hospital, one of the 15 hospitals included in the humedica project. Photo: humedica/Anna Eschweiler

Supplying drugs, basic food and therapeutic food was part of the programme. Furthermore, we also organised professional training measures for the hospital staff. Our work also included financing measures for maintaining medical devices and equipment at hospitals and necessary repairs at the hospitals' outpatient departments.

Since our support involved many different aspects, we could make a sustainable contribution to ensuring that all of the 15 hospitals that have been supported by humedica are operating once more and that patients are cared for well.

Over the last years I had already had the opportunity of working in Manicaland Province as development aid worker and the two preceding humedica teams had already established very good structures and networks in Zimbabwe. Thanks to that we could realise the project activities of our current mission very efficiently and fast.

I really enjoyed this work. The population benefited from our efforts directly, and the effects of our targeted aid could be seen and experienced immediately. Cooperation with the local project team was very effective and the staff members working at the hospitals were deeply grateful for our comprehensive support.

One of the many patients at Mount Selinda Hospital with her baby. Photo: humedica/Hannes Harms

Employees, administration managers and also patients at the hospitals often told us how everyone needed and appreciated our work and support. At this point I would like to pass on this gratitude to the German Federal Foreign Office and to all the friends and sponsors of humedica.

At our last meeting also Bishop Mutume, Suffragan Bishop of Manicaland Province, emphasised his gratitude for the support humedica has been offering at the diocese Manicaland for more than one year. He said that, although the situation had improved markedly during the past year, medical care for the population of Zimbabwe was unfortunately still not granted to a sufficient extent.

Due to the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe and years of neglecting the health system, it will probably still take a lot of time and efforts to achieve the objective of affordable and consistent medical care for the majority of the population.

Therefore, I sincerely hope that international aid and support for Zimbabwe will continue. And I also hope that this fist humedica mission will be followed by others."

NOTE OF THE EDITORIAL TEAM: Karin Uckrow was outrun by reality: there definitely can be no talk of a last mission - Karin Uckrow, who was born in Berlin, is already on her way to her next distant destination. She will work as project coordinator in Haiti for the next five months. Thank you very much for your commitment, dear Karin.

Gratitude and joy was palpable, the results of our aid immediately obvious. Photo: humedica

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