The First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, yesterday officially launched a model nutrition garden at Victoria Falls Hospital with the idea set to be spread across all health institutions in the country.
The nutrition garden is being run at almost zero cost as it uses organic manure from compost material at the hospital.
The health institution grows a variety of vegetables and herbs to benefit patients.
The nutrition garden is a product of partnership between Amai Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation, Victoria Falls based Love for Africa and US-based, Matter Foundation.
Last year, the same partners donated medical equipment to Victoria Falls Hospital and Lukosi Hospital in Hwange and it was during the presentation of the donations that Amai Mnangagwa mooted the idea of a nutrition garden.
Following the establishment of the garden, Victoria Falls Hospital is reportedly saving up to ZW$10 000 monthly by producing its own vegetables.
Officially handing over the garden during a tour of the hospital yesterday, Amai Mnangagwa said Victoria Falls Hospital was selected to pilot the initiative in the country and the project will be replicated at other hospitals.
“The partnership has seen Victoria Falls Hospital becoming a hub in everything. They brought in equipment for hospitals and we also thought if we can have nutrition gardens that will serve hospitals and this is what has happened.
“This was just a pilot project and we have seen it working. If possible all hospitals should have such type of a garden to feed patients. We are taking it to other referral hospitals,” said the First Lady.
She challenged staff at Government hospitals to emulate the initiative in order to guarantee nutritional healthcare in hospitals.
The First Lady said from Victoria Falls Hospital, the nutritional garden concept will be taken to the United Bulawayo Hospital in Bulawayo and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare.
She said health, nutrition and education are issues that are close to her heart hence her humanitarian work countrywide.
“This is an exciting project which we will roll out to the whole country. We were here last year and I am happy with progress and development I have seen. The hospital and nutrition garden promote quality care and treatment for Victoria Falls residents. These are issues which are close to my heart particularly when it pertains to access to health care services for the marginalised and disadvantaged women, elderly and children.
“I have the pleasure of presenting this project to the Victoria Falls community as an example to the rest of the country. It is a pilot and we will continue to do similar projects throughout Zimbabwe so that we can ensure that every hospital and clinic have their own source of vegetables,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa urged staff to look after the garden so that patients have a continuous supply of vegetables.
Meanwhile, the First Lady donated baby clothes, towels and lotions to nine new and expecting mothers she found in the maternity ward.
Representing Love for Africa, Mr Blessing Munyenyiwa said it took about six months to prepare the garden using vermiculture.
He said various vegetables are grown under conservation farming.
“We have calculated that the hospital is actually saving about ZW$10 000 by growing its own vegetables,” he said.