News Detailansicht - Ruedi Lüthy Foundation

Zimbabwe

“The positivity outweighs by far all negativity“

A difficult and unusual year is coming to an end. Our CEO Sabine Lüthy explains how Newlands Clinic mastered the past few months. And she is summing up what has happened during this time.

Covid-19 is ruling in Switzerland. What is the situation in Zimbabwe?
The much-feared Corona outbreak has not become reality until now – at least this is what the official numbers are showing. Zimbabwe counts 10 000 corona cases until now. Many people are suffering from hunger and sickness, the virus is just another problem in already troubled lives. People living and working in slums are going after their daily business as always to generate vital income. Without mask nor distances. Corona seems to be abstract, but their hunger is real. Seeing Europa and Switzerland being shaken up by Covid-19 like that leaves our friends and staff shocked and speechless. They are now worried about us. Usually, it is the other way around.
 
The public health system in Zimbabwe is almost down completely. What is the impact on Newlands Clinic?
Newlands Clinic became many people’s last place of hope. This year we spent CHF 100 000 for external HIV patients on top of normal expenses. Some of them are in terrible shape suffering from HIV-related tumors that are not treatable anymore. These are trying moments for our team. But more importantly, in the end, we are happy for every patient we were able to help.
 
How did you keep running Newlands Clinic, and ensure access to medical health care for your patients at all times?
New ideas and adaptations were needed in the past few months. Thanks to our cooperation with local health care facilities our patients had access to their medication even during the curfew. Furthermore, to ensure training our teachers traveled to district hospitals to train healthcare personal onsite. Because our teachers were able to address their specific needs and circumstances decentralized training proved to be very successful. We are going to maintain this kind of training in the future. Thanks to our highly engaged staff we were able to resume all our projects after a Covid-19-related break.
 
How would you sum up the year 2020?
This year pushed all of us to our limits but for me, the positivity outweighs by far all negativity. The Newlands Clinic was running even though these months have been incredibly challenging. We were even able to expand our offer. All of this has been possible thanks to the loyal support from Switzerland. And thanks to our highly professional team which was working courageously and flexibly and plans far-sighted.