The country’s defence forces will forever be on hand to provide assistance in the development of the country, through engagement in various civil-military programmes with other state and non-state actors, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said this after touring Chitungwiza Central Hospital yesterday, where members of the defence forces in partnership with the Professional Women, Women Executives and Business Women’s Forum (PROWEB), Elena Barraquer Foundation of Spain and Chitungwiza Hospital are conducting free eye screening and cataract operations.

“As the ZDF, we attach seriousness to take matters of socio-economic development through our civil-military relations programme, our role spans far beyond the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zimbabwe.

“The ZDF is there to facilitate an enabling environment for meaningful socio-economic development. It is, therefore, in our best interests to ensure that we have a healthy society hence our participation in noble programmes such as the one we are witnessing today,” said Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri.

She thanked PROWEB and the Elena Barraquer Foundation for organising the free surgery programme adding that it complemented the country’s health services delivery, a critical component for the development of the nation.

“We thank PROWEB and the Elena Barraquer Foundation and their team for your thoughtfulness and travelling all the way from Spain to come and assist the needy vulnerable members of our communities in Zimbabwe through the restoration of their eyesight,” said cde Kashiri.

Speaking at the same occasion, leader of the Barraquer Foundation, Professor Elena Barraquer, said she was grateful to Government for having been afforded a chance to offer her philanthropic work adding that she was impressed with the skilled human resource base in the country.

“We would like to thank your local doctors because without their help we will not have been able to reach the numbers that we had planned. Their level of expertise is amazing. I have travelled to many African countries but never had such a warm welcome like yours. We are definitely coming back again next year”, said Professor Barraquer.

PROWEB founder Mrs Florence Ziumbe said the gesture was the organisation’s way of giving back to the community, which nurtured them to be successful business                        people.

Meanwhile, 155 patients drawn from Mt Darwin, Madziwa, Shurugwi, Gokwe, Chitungwiza, Mahusekwa, Marondera and Dema, and referral from South Africa had undergone surgerie for cataract removal by yesterday afternoon, with the operating staff expecting the figure to reach 200 by end of day.

A cataract is the clouding of the lens of one or both eyes leading to a gradual decrease in vision and may lead total loss of sight if not treated

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