There was quite a flurry of excitement earlier this month at the Jeannie Burns Buckner Maternal and Pediatric Hospital in remote Binga, Zimbabwe, when the First Lady, Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, flew in to tour the hospital and formally open the facility which has been operational since last summer.
On hand to greet the First Lady was Jeannie Burns Buckner, MATTER’s President, Quenton Marty, and Blessing Menyunyiwa of Love for Africa, among others. The First Lady met with the three in 2020 and asked them to partner with her foundation, Angel of Hope, to build a healthcare facility in Binga.
“It was very moving to finally be at the hospital with the First Lady,” reflected Jeannie afterward. “She had never visited yet. She asked the helicopter pilot to circle one more time before landing as she was amazed at just how big the hospital was and all the additional buildings. She was emotional in her welcome and in her small meeting with MATTER and the Ministry of Health. We both held hands upon seeing each other and with tears in our eyes said, ‘We did it!'”
In her speech to the dignitaries, guests and the thousands of grateful villagers that came to the opening ceremony, Dr. Mnangagwa spoke movingly about what the hospital means to her. “I am happy my dream has come to reality. When we had our meeting, it was during the Covid era when traveling was difficult but my heart kept telling me that I needed a hospital in Binga…As you may be aware we are not the first ones to try and build a hospital here; others before us failed and abandoned the project. But we felt it was important to soldier on regardless of the challenges.”
Since opening its doors to the community in the summer of 2022, the hospital has treated thousands of patients and delivered nearly 200 babies. With the mothers’ waiting quarters on the hospital grounds, expectant mothers are encouraged to come early in their pregnancy and stay until they deliver. This is a game changer for most mothers in Binga.
Binga resident, Unity Mpofu, shared her experience of giving birth prior to the opening of the hospital. “Previously, we would give birth on our way as we walked to a clinic. I personally have three children whom I delivered on the road and am so grateful for this state-of-the-art hospital at our doorstep. We would walk 40km [24 miles] to the nearest clinic while also carrying bags. Life was hard for us. I’m grateful to the First Lady for building this hospital for us.”
Not only do the expectant mothers need accommodations on-site, but so do the doctors and nurses that work at the hospital. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our donors, including the Nurses Helping Nurses campaign in May, the nurses’ quarters are nearing completion. With accommodations for up to eight nurses, the housing unit will provide them with a common living area, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Would you please help us complete the nurses’ quarters so these dedicated professionals can continue to provide the very best care possible to their patients? Go here to learn more.
This hospital is truly a game-changer for the people of Binga. Not only is it providing elevated and dignified healthcare, but its very presence tells the community that their lives are worth saving. That their babies are worth being delivered in a safe and comfortable environment. That they matter.
Watch this video to see the progress of the nurses’ quarters and the hospital in action!