INTRODUCTION: Medical skills gained during the seven year bush war are now being turned to the battle for public health in Zimbabwe.
GV Umtali General Hospital. (2 SHOTS)
GV Medics (women) standing next to ambulance outside rural clinic.
SCU INT Medics being instructed by Sister Tsopotsa in Umtali hospital, grouped around patient undergoing treatment to leg. (3 SHOTS)
SV Medics in classroom being taught by Sister Tsopotsa, SV Tsopotsa. (2 SHOTS)
SV & GV Class listening as Sister Tsopotsa talks.
SV PAN EXT Medics grouped around with Sister Tsopotsa.
CU Sister Tsopotsa being interviewed by Reuters' Rodney Pinder.
SV Three trainee medics with Reuters' Pinder.
SCU Student Gilbert Madondo being interviewed by Pinder.
SPEECH ON CASSETTE (TRANSCRIPT)
PINDER: "How many students do you have and how long a course do they undergo?"
TSOPOTSA: "I've got 34 students. I started off with 35 but one dropped, you know, along the way. Now I've got 34 students. Fifteen women and nineteen men. They are all here for the six month course."
PINDER: "What is the overall aim of the programme?"
TSOPOTSA: "The main aim is to train a nurse who is going to take health back into rural areas. And these young men and women have been working with the people during the war and they have seen the need and they have seen that they are the right people to go in, especially if they undergo the proper training, which I hope they will have by the end of this course."
PINDER: "Gilbert, you and your colleagues came out of the bush where you were fighting a war; now you're helping administer to the people in peace. What do you see as your main task?"
MADONDO: "Our main task actually is to try to educate the masses a much as possible, because you see most disease is due to, say, ignorance. If the masses could be educated on some of these things...you find some come with diarrhoea, which may be caused because on uncleanliness. You see, if you try and teach them some of these things, you can try and control much of, some of these diseases ... as many as possible."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Medical skills gained during the seven year bush war are now being turned to the battle for public health in Zimbabwe. Small groups of former guerrillas are undergoing intensive courses to qualify as medical assistants.
SYNOPSIS: The Umtali General Hospital is one of the health centres where the former fighters are taking their intensive courses.
All have had previous medical training that together with their experience in the field in wartime and in refugee camps makes their accelerated training possible. Men slightly outnumber women. The average age of trainees is 20.
But the chief value of the medics is not the speed at which they can be re-trained. The Health Ministry expects them to be dedicated to working in rural areas.
Members among the bush war medics received their original training in Tanzania. Some now see their life's work as helping the rural people of Zimbabwe.
The nursing sister in charge of the course at the Umtali Hospital, Mrs Ennerah Tsopotsa, was interviewed by Rodney Pinder of Reuters newsagency.