Gutu district worries over maternal and infant health care access are likely to be allayed after a team of cyclists in Canada organized a five-day fund raising event whose proceeds are set to be used towards improving the health facility.
The 500+ kilometre race dubbed ‘Ride for Gutu’ organized by Education for Medical Aid and Service (EMAS) is set for September 12-16, 2022 when cyclists ride from Burlington to Canadian capital Ottawa in support of maternal and infant health care.
EMAS Executive director Peter Agwa said the whole idea behind the activity is driven by passion to see mothers and their infants have a greater chance of health and survival since mortality rate in Zimbabwe is extremely high and is 40 times more than Canada’s.
“I am riding to help improve the health of mothers and their new-borns in rural Zimbabwe. The 500-plus kilometres from Burlington to Ottawa over five days will be my toughest cycling challenge ever. I am doing this to raise money for training hospital workers later this year. Like a famous king from long ago: I will not offer to God that which cost me nothing,” said Dr Agwa.
His sentiments were echoed by another cyclist Wally Boonstra who said he is participating for the sake of improving the life of people in Africa.
“I am riding for Gutu Mission Hospital because it is a mission like the work Dr Jean Chamberlain does in parts of Africa. Dr Chamberlain delivered both my beautiful grandchildren in Canada.
“I am intrigued by the work done in Africa to improve the lives of mothers and infants as well the outcomes. As a Christian, I have no medical background or training but will do my part by raising funds for the hospital,” said Boonstra.
Another participant Gary Aikema said he intends to help raise the funds because what are considered risk-free procedures in Western world can compromise lives of Zimbabwean mothers.
“I am joining the ride for Gutu maternity hospital because I know the need for improved service. When mothers’ lives are compromised with what we in the Western world consider to be virtually risk-free procedures, I feel compelled to involve myself, at least in the smallest way in God’s service to provide some help,” he said.
Tracy Robb the newest member in the cycling team said her wish is towards provision of proper equipment at the hospital.
“I’m riding for Gutu maternity hospital in Zimbabwe. I will be helping to raise much-needed funds so that families in that community could experience child birth as well as medical complications without fear and instead with the help of doctors and needed equipment,” said Robb.
Chi Mandivenga whose mother was born at the health centre would join the race on the first day for personal reasons.
The race will end at Zimbabwean Embassy in Canada where the cyclists are expected to be welcomed by Ambassador Ruth Chikwira.
EMAS is also going to co-host a medical conference with Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) from October 30 to November 6, 2022.