Hello, Everyone – I’m writing from St. Albert’s Mission Hospital, Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe. I originally wrote this note to the St. Louis College of Pharmacy International Student Organization to thank them for dedicating their 2019 fundraiser to helping the St. Albert’s poultry project.
Dr. Julia Musariri, director of St. Albert’s, requested support from BHA for this project as an innovative way to help cope with the challenges of providing health care as Zimbabwe’s national economy continues to collapse.
Government support for the country’s healthcare system is at a shocking low. Doctors in the nation’s public hospitals have been on strike for two months due to a lack of payment. Last Tuesday we walked through Zimbabwe’s largest teaching hospital, Parirenyatwa Hospital, and the wards had no patients, only empty beds. Nurses are working just two days a week.
Pregnant women must deliver at home. Complications can mean the death of mother or child.
Hunger is widespread.
Because of these conditions, many people turn to St. Albert’s and other mission hospitals for care, but the pharmacy shelves are empty, medical supplies are low and equipment is often down for a lack of spare parts. Inflation is running 500% to 1500%.
A truly bright spot in this tragic picture is the St. Albert’s poultry project, which currently has a 1,000 laying hens that produce about 800 eggs a day.
At Z$40 for 30 eggs, they are selling like, well, hot cakes.
In the stores, a similar flat sells for about Z$60. The hospital sells at the lower rate in sympathy for their struggling community. Eggs are also a wonderful source of protein for those unable to afford meat.
(At the time of our visit, $1.00 equaled about 15 Zimbabwe dollars.)
Finally, droppings from the birds are used to help fuel a biogas generator that feeds hospital cooking stoves. So the poultry project is aiding the hospital and the community in many ways. (To those who donated to help start the project, please give yourselves a pat on back!)
Already, demand for the eggs has outstripped the supply, and Dr Musariri would like to expand the program. That might now happen thanks to the efforts of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy International Student Organization.
Thank you, everyone, and keep well…Darrell