By Hazvinei Mwanaka
Stakeholders in Masvingo have called on the government to ensure that they have set up a fund in the 2020 national budget which will enable the provision of free medical services to survivors of domestic violence.
Victims of domestic violence who are mostly women are reportedly struggling to access medical services due to lack of resources and exorbitant charges that are being asked at various health institutions.
The call came during a 2020 budget priority consultation meeting conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs Community, SMEs Development in Masvingo.
“We want domestic violence survivors to have free medical services, most will be traumatised and unable to pay for their medical bills,” said one of the participants Alice Mashinge.
“Also we need training for handlers of domestic violence survivors, especially on sign language. Often times we have discovered that those who are deaf and dump have difficulties in having their cases handled at courts,” she said.
Mashinge added that besides ensuring access to free medical services for victims of domestic violence, the 2020 budget must also subsidise sanitary pads whose price has gone beyond the reach of many women especially girls.
“The cheapest packet of pads so far is going for ZW$10 which is too much for many considering the levels of income,” she said.
Also speaking on the issue of access to sanitary pads, Gamuchirai Chikasha from Women Coalition of Zimbabwe said sanitary pads should be budgeted for and given for free to institutions like Ngomahuru were mentally challenged people are rehabilitated.
Officials from the Ministry of Women Affairs Community and SMEs Development also revealed that they have been conducting training for women on reusable pads but have been forced to suspend the training due to lack of material to use and resources for transport to reach various areas.
In an interview, acting chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs Gender and Community Development Honourable Perseviarance Zhou said they are pleased with the turnout at the consultations.
“We started in Bulawayo and yesterday we were in Zvishavane. The stakeholders that we want are those who represent women, meaning if that organisation comes it represents many families and communities. So far every place we have reached has been good, organisations were coming,” she said.
Zhou added that most of the issues that came from contributors centred on access to sanitary pads, water provision, alleviating climate change as well as catering for the wellbeing of the marginalised groups especially people living with disabilities.