Winnie, a nurse from Victoria Falls Hospital in Zimbabwe, describes the difficulty of working without the proper equipment and supplies to treat her patients. “We get people in accidents that need x-rays, pregnant women that require ultrasounds and we can’t treat them properly. It’s so frustrating.”
Looking at the towering stacks of MATTER boxes filled with supplies, the electrical beds being rolled into the hospital, and the carefully wrapped equipment of various shapes and sizes being unloaded from a giant shipping container, Winnie’s eyes sparkle, “This is hope.”
With the generous support of our donors and partners, MATTER procured crucial equipment and supplies for the refurbishment of the Victoria Falls Hospital, a busy but under-equipped facility in the heart of Zimbabwe’s bustling tourist town. When the container arrived in July, a team from MATTER helped unload and set up the new equipment. ICU beds, examination lights, pediatric ventilators, a defibrillator, a portable x-ray machine and an ultrasound were among the equipment that found a new home in Victoria Falls.
At the remote Lukosi Maternity Hospital, hope arrived in another type of shipping container. This container, customized by MATTER partner Modular Life Solutions, is a free-standing, solar-powered surgical pod. For a small hospital without an operating theater, this innovative surgical pod will be a game-changer. A few weeks before the pod arrived, a young woman had hemorrhaged to death shortly after giving birth. The staff did everything they could to save her life, but in the end she needed emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. She died while being rushed to the nearest surgical hospital 30 minutes away. Reflecting on the tragic incident in light of the surgical pod’s arrival, the nurse manager, Mr. Mlilo, shared with MATTER,
“It was unfortunate. Very unfortunate. You can imagine when we’re sending women 40 kilometers away who are bleeding that badly, it doesn’t take long before they go into shock. So with this surgical theater we are going to be able to expedite situations like that.”
On July 20th, a ceremony celebrated the refurbishment of the Victoria Falls and Lukosi Hospitals. In addition to the MATTER team and their families, Zimbabwe’s First Lady, the Minister of Health, the Mayor of Victoria Falls, and several other dignitaries were present. First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa expressed her gratitude on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe,
“Seeing how we have been making efforts to rebuild our country, MATTER helped us with their innovative and sustainable solutions to improve healthcare in Zimbabwe…Words are certainly powerless to express the depth of our gratitude but I’m hopeful that, knowing that we have saved hundreds of lives and created thousands of smiles, these will be fulfilling for you.”
MATTER is excited to engage in this important partnership with the Zimbabwe Health Ministry, the Angel of Hope Foundation and Love for Africa Foundation to expand our efforts to improve healthcare services and health outcomes for communities throughout the country.
For a brief video tour of the surgical pod in Lukosi, watch the below video from Modular Life Solutions!