Our major project in 2019 was construction of a clinic at Lesedi, which opened to the community earlier this year. There is a high incidence of HIV and AIDS in the community, including some of the school children. The nearest alternative public clinic is 28km from Lesedi, and transport costs are unaffordable for most. Our determination to build a clinic stemmed from Benson seeing an elderly lady in ill-health make the lengthy round-trip to the clinic on the back of an ox-cart only to be told her antiretroviral (ARV) medication was not available. She was forced to do the same journey again a few days later. Some people decide against HIV treatment as the clinic is just too far.
In addition to distributing ARVs, the clinic will provide vital medical care to vulnerable people in the area. So often medical attention is only sought once an illness is at an advanced stage, as families cannot afford the transport or consultation costs. One of our young pupils had just hours to live when we rushed her to a private clinic in Victoria Falls, only to discover she has Type I diabetes. She wasn't taken to a doctor earlier as her parents knew the consultation and treatment would be out of their reach. The clinic will enable the whole community to get timely medical intervention and treatment, inevitably saving many lives. Our aim is for the clinic to offer affordable medical care to patients who are able to pay, with the proceeds funding treatment for the more vulnerable in the local community.
Along with the clinic, we have also built a waiting mothers’ cottage so that expectant mothers can comfortably await the birth of their child without the risk of traveling long distances after labour begins. The cottage is named Mother Ellina House, in honour of Benson's remarkable mother. For Benson's birth, she set off on a long walk to the hospital from her rural home but only made it 1km before her waters broke and she gave birth in a small gully among the herdsmen and their cattle. The cottage at Lesedi will ensure expectant mothers can give birth in a safe environment, monitored by skilled health professionals, helping to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality which is still relatively high in Zimbabwe.
Constructing and equipping the clinic and ancillary buildings has required a substantial investment, which remarkably has been 100% funded by private donations. Our next challenge will be to ensure the ongoing costs are covered. It is inevitable that we will need to cover the cost of some medical provisions on an ongoing basis, in addition to funding salaries and other day to day costs, so please consider supporting this worthwhile project.