BY SAMANTHA SIBANDA
BULAWAYO’s Ekusileni Medical Centre is yet to admit COVID-19 patients a year after it was declared a coronavirus treatment centre, amid calls for strengthening of the health sector to effectively deal with new strains of the deadly disease.
Last year, several promises to open Ekusileni hit a snag. Dates were announced for the ground-breaking ceremony, but authorities continued to postpone the opening of the institution.
Ekusileni chief executive officer Absalom Dube on Monday said the medical centre would be opening very soon as the renovations were 95% complete.
“From October, there was lack of funding, shortage of the required equipment, delays in delivery of equipment and delays by contractors,” he said.
“The donations received from Dairibord Zimbabwe are not enough as some patients use more than five blankets and these blankets need to be changed depending on the situation obtaining at that particular time. For now, the equipment is inadequate,” he said.
Dube’s remarks came after Dairibord Zimbabwe donated 170 blankets, 152 bed sheets and 76 pillowcases to the centre. He appealed to the National Social Security Authority to intervene and contractors to deliver all needed equipment soon.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube said work at Ekusileni was about to be completed.
“Ekusileni Medical Centre is opening any time from now as there are a few touch-ups to be completed.
“The lockdown period delayed the programme and we are looking for equipment somewhere else.
“We received donations from Dairibord and we wish to get such donations from other institutions and we appreciate people’s patience as the donations are still coming,” she said.
Ncube urged the stakeholders to work hard in order to improve the quality of health services in the city.
“We also have a kitchen in Thorngrove that needs new stoves and the machines there are old. “We appeal to Bulawayo investors and the people from the diaspora to intervene,” Ncube said.