Aid to Zimbabwe Hospital Keeps Doors Open

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BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, JAN. 20, 2009 ( One of the last hospitals left in Zimbabwe was given a donation that will keep its doors open for now.

Aid to the Church in Need reported Monday that their donation of more than £22,500 ($31,330) to Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo, of southwest Zimbabwe, «came in response to increasing fears that a funding crisis could force the 170-bed acute hospital to shut.»

Monsignor Martin Schupp, apostolic administrator of Bulawayo, stated in his application for aid that «government hospitals are barely functioning in the city and Mater Dei Hospital is the only place where any standard of medical care can be obtained.»

The report added that doctors in government hospitals are currently on strike over pay, and that many doctors and nurses have fled the country, exacerbating the crisis of obtaining quality healthcare.

The aid fund will be applied to doctors’ salaries and essential medicine so that patients can be brought in without being forced to pay upfront, and concessions can be made for impoverished people. Current inflation in the country is 230 million percent and widespread hunger has been exacerbated by a cholera epidemic.

The private Mater Dei hospital, opened in 1952 by the British-based Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, offers services in pediatrics, maternity, obstetrics and accident and emergency.

Said one hospital spokesman: «We feel that as a Catholic institution we should not be turning sick people away just because of money.»

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