Mission doctors and nurses serving under COVID

. 2 min read
Angela Macherechedze, sister-in-charge of the family and child health unit at United Methodist Old Mutare Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe, holds baby Prince Anotidaishe, the first child for 18-year-old Samantha Sibanda, who traveled more than 160 miles to give birth at the church hospital. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

With Zimbabwe’s health sector paralyzed by labor strikes and a lack of protective equipment and other supplies, more patients are turning to United Methodist mission hospitals and clinics for care.

Health care professionals called to serve at church facilities remain committed to saving lives despite economic struggles that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, said church leaders and hospital staff.

Since March, many of the doctors and nurses who work at government-run hospitals in the country have been on strike, demanding better working conditions and pay as well as adequate equipment to protect themselves and patients against the coronavirus.

Despite some of the same issues, workers at United Methodist health facilities remain on the job. ...

Abigail Kapfunde, senior tutor-in-charge of Nyadire Nursing School, attributes the commitment of the mission’s doctors and nurses to their faith and upbringing. She said students learn about the Bible and the church’s Social Principles during their training.

“The exposure to a religious environment … has given them every reason to continue saving lives even if the working conditions are unfavorable,” Kapfunde said.

Nurse Agnes Chicheko, a graduate of the school, agreed.

“This means I should consider helping the sick first before anything else. This is why you see me at times leaving my plate of food rushing to attend to the sick,” she said. “In the Social Principles, we were taught that we are complementing God's work in restoring life to his people.”

Chicheko recalled meeting Bishop Nhiwatiwa at her 2016 graduation and said she keeps his words close to her heart as she continues to work during these difficult times.

“He said, ‘Demonstrate that you were trained at a mission hospital. People should not ask, but your actions should speak louder than words.’”

Chingwe is a communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference.

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