BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
THE Health and Child Care ministry has revealed that it has no funds to purchase equipment such as intensive care unit (ICU) beds for public hospitals designated as COVID-19 centres.
Bulawayo provincial medical director Marphios Siamuchembu told NewsDay yesterday that the ministry had insufficient funds to purchase additional ICU beds for public hospitals in the city.
“First of all, we are a third world country which simply means that we are a very poor country. Before COVID-19, there were diseases which required us to have ICU beds and ventilators, but because we do not have money, the situation has remained the same ever since then,” he said.
“What COVID-19 has done is it has aggravated the situation in the country because there is really an increase in demand for ICU beds. Even at UBH [United Bulawayo Hospitals], there is an extreme shortage of those, but we are not financially capacitated to meet this challenge.”
Last year, city health services director Edwin Sibanda raised concern over the shortage of ICU beds, warning that the situation could get out of hand if demand continued to rise due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.