SMEs offer alternative to Zim health challenges

By Anyway Machani and Tendai Sahondo

Charity clings to life by a thread as she struggles to breathe in a crowded hospital ward that now resembles a death chamber. The ire of death snatches both young and old, sparing no one, as doctors are unavailable to provide relive to the sick that lay scattered on the floor. Frantic calls to beg the striking doctors prove futile and soon enough, the nurses also turn a blind eye. Charity fears she could be next on heaven’s roll call; fortunately her brother is able to access some herbal brew from a micro-retailer that saves her life.
Such has become the norm with Zimbabwean patients that are now turning to micro enterprises for life- saving herbal medicine that is relatively cheaper compared to over-the-counter drugs. Micro enterprises in the health sector also offer affordable services to hard-pressed Zimbabweans. They are now a vital cog to the health system as the ongoing tiff between doctors and government has crippled the broad health service sector.

The Business Connect took some time at the just ended SMEs International Expo to chat with some of the micro-players that are now catering for the health needs of the average Zimbabwean.
In an interview, Easylife marketing manager Fabian Chimuronda said his organisation is trying to make life a little easier for patients faced with critical health challenges owing to inadequate medical supplies.

“A lot of people are suffering from some serious diseases like cancer other various chronic illnesses whose panaceas are either overpriced or unavailable in clinics and hospitals; as a result, they end up dying. We are therefore encouraging people to come to Easylife for food supplements and natural herbs which they can use to solve their health problems. We import most of our herbals from leading countries such as China,” said Chimuronda.

Devine Pro Skin Care’s Co-founder Providence Moyo said that her company is dedicated to providing health care to Zimbabweans by offering hyper allergenic medicines manufactured from indigenous vegetation.

“We manufacture skin and hair care products from indigenous trees in Zimbabwe and we work with the rural communities in Hwange, Lupane, Plumtree and Binga where we get raw materials. Our manufacturing base is in Bulawayo, we have two service providers, one in Bulawayo at Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel and one in Harare that we recently opened.
“We condemn the use of skin lightening creams which might have serious side effects. We want people to use what they have and what is natural,” said Moyo.
She said Devine Pro Skin Care is a legal enterprise linking with big companies for distribution purposes.
“We are getting positive feedback from those that use our products. We have since expanded our brand and people can now find us in leading retail chains such as Edgars, Jet, Pick n Pay and most leading pharmacies in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moyo was happy with the SMEs International Expo experience which she said creates business to business opportunities for micro enterprises in the country.
“We are currently importing packaging material but I am glad that coming to the Expo has opened our eyes, we met a company that manufacturers beautiful packaging so we are planning to partner with them because we want all our production processes to be Afro centric,” said the business lady.
SMEs are also expanding to cover optical needs of the nation with firms such as Optinova Eye care raising the banner high for SMEs in the country.
“People are suffering from eye problems and sometimes hospitals lack machinery for screening and examination,” said Optinova optical assistant, Musa Rikomeka
The company provided free eye screening at the expo to determine shortsightedness or farsightedness. Those found with optical challenges are then encouraged to visit Optinova laboratories for full examinations and assistance

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