Zimbabwe: Doctors Reap Merck Partnership Benefits

ZIMBABWEANS are reaping the benefits of health Ambassador First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s partnership with an international organisation — Merck Foundation through scholarships in the health sector to enhance proficiency in various disciplines, a medical doctor who benefited from the programme has said.

Dr Thalia Mungwari, the district medical officer for Bikita District, said she was now in a position to discharge her duties better and reduced the need to transfer patience for special care elsewhere because of the knowledge she acquired.

The partnership between the First Lady and Merck Foundation, has provided more than 100 scholarships to doctors drawn from the country’s 10 provinces in many critical specialties and under-served disciplines as part of a drive to transform healthcare quality and allow equitable access for all.

Areas covered by the scholarships include Fertility and Embryology, Oncology, Diabetes, Cardiovascular, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Respiratory, Acute Medicines, Clinical Microbiology and Infectious diseases.

Amai Mnangagwa is the Merck More than a Mother ambassador in Zimbabwe.

Dr Mungwari, who studied sexual reproductive medicine online with a university in South Wales through the scholarship, sang praises to the First Lady.

“I managed to get the opportunity to be included in the Merck Foundation More than a Mother scholarship with much appreciation to the First Lady Amai Mnangagwa who is more than a mother ambassador in Zimbabwe.

“She made it possible for us to take part in the foundation scholarship. I managed to be a student for sexual reproductive medicine where we learnt a lot of issues to do with sexual reproductive medicine.

“We managed to learn the psychological effects of those that are infertile, the psychological effects to the woman, the psychological effects to the male partner as well as the psychological effects to the community,” she said.

Dr Mungwari said being the district medical officer for Bikita District and having acquired this knowledge, she could now handle mental health within the issues of infertility.

“We are in a rural district where many patients can be transferred to Masvingo provincial or to Harare central hospitals for special care but cannot afford and therefore from what I have learnt from this programme I have managed to gather enough information and being able to manage these mothers at local area level of the district with minimum numbers being transferred to specialists.

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“Having also this knowledge we have managed to have an impact to the community as the depression and negative impact of infertility might also lead to reduced reproductively within the district, but now that we can manage these patients it’s also having a positive impact to the district as a whole, to the economic status as a district as well as to the health status of our communities,” she said.

Through the scholarships, United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) also boasts a facility offering services to infertility patients.

Journalists have also benefited from the partnership and got an opportunity to sharpen their skills in reporting sensitivity issues around infertility which are often stigmatised.

Many doctors countrywide are still getting scholarships to study various disciplines in health, thanks to the First Lady sound relations with the Merck Foundation.

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