Herbal clinic changes the face of health delivery

The Kariba chapter of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation is running a blooming herb garden and community herbal remedy clinic.

Enita Chigova in the Kariba herb garden.
Enita Chigova in the Kariba herb garden.

The federation is a network of savings groups comprised of poor communities who live in urban and peri-urban settlements around the country. Their combined savings are meant to address issues of poverty, focusing mainly on housing, land tenure, health, income and employment creation.

Under its health fund, members of the federation in Kariba have managed to set up a herbal clinic. Enita Chigova, one of the members managing the herbs programme, told The Zimbabwean they are so successful that they need bigger premises.

“We are processing home-made medicines from our herbal garden. We run a small clinic which is currently operating at my house. Our plans are to relocate to a bigger venue if we can find the resources,” said Chigova.

She and other members of the group have been trained to propagate as well as to administer herbs to patients. “We have been trained by a Christian humanitarian organization in Mt Hampden. Our training covered propagation, harvesting, processing and use of herbal medicines. On average we treat five to 15 patients per day,” she said.

Learning ground

The clinic attends to minor illnesses like coughs, colds, backaches, toothaches , wounds, thrush, STIs , arthritis, rheumatism and certain skin rashes. Patients with serious and complicated cases are referred to conventional clinics.

The herb clinic also keeps medical records for patients and works hand-in-hand with council and government clinics.

During meetings, Chigova said the staff also take the opportunity to educate the community on various herbal remedies for simple illnesses. Besides benefitting federation members, the clinic also caters for other members of the community.

“Our health clinic now acts as a learning ground not only for the Federation’s chapters, but other institutions have also benefitted from our experiences. Our dream is to continue to strengthen health initiatives and improve the quality of life for poor communities” said Chigova.

The federation works closely with volunteers from within the community and has also taken the initiative to care for sick people and their families. This care is not limited to members only, but is also extended to other members of the community including orphans, vulnerable children and the elderly.

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