Rumbidzayi Zinyuke in MUTARE and Lovemore Kadzura in RUSAPE
The Covid-19 isolation centre at Mutare Infectious Diseases Hospital has been taken over by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, so that rehabilitation of the unit can be accelerated.
Mutare City Council struggled to meet the April 18 deadline for completion of rehabilitation works due to challenges.
The transfer by Government effectively puts running of the hospital under the Ministry to ensure a co-ordinated approach in the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking during a tour of health institutions in Manicaland on Saturday, Deputy Chair of the Covid-19 Inter-Ministerial Taskforce, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, said health institutions in Manicaland needed more resources and she called for a collective approach in enhancing preparedness.
“I am not happy because our health institutions are not well resourced and this requires us to go back and put in place a programme to assist hospitals in the provision of isolation centres,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said it was important that there be some central authority pushing for the capacitation of hospitals.
She demanded that timeframes for the completion of works at the hospitals be put in place.
“As it is, we are really worried that Manicaland is not ready to take up patients in an emergency,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“We really need to push and increase workforce on the ground to make sure that all construction work is completed.”
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said the decision to take over Mutare Infectious Diseases Hospital was necessary as it would consolidate efforts to fight the pandemic.
“Although Mutare Provincial Hospital is much better in terms of preparedness, they still need more equipment,” she said.
“Mutare Infectious Diseases Hospital still has a long way to go.”
Workforces would be mobilised, including those of the council, the Department of Public Works, the Zimbabwe National Army and other stakeholders to speed up the construction and renovation processes.
Funds for the superstructure and equipment is already there and work will start in earnest from today.
Last week, Government released $1,4 million, while Mutare City Council injected $1,5 million towards the procurement of equipment for the Mutare Infectious Diseases Hospital isolation centre.
Funds for the structural renovations to the tune of $1,6 million were raised by businesses operating under the auspices of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in Mutare.
Manicaland Acting Provincial Director, Dr Munyaradzi Mukuzunga, said the Ministry of Health and Child Care was prioritising Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for renovation as the provincial referral unit.
Space has been allocated for an intensive care unit at the hospital, with a capacity of 14 beds, once renovations are complete. Mutare Infectious Disease Hospital has been earmarked for four ICU beds and oxygen infrastructure, infrastructural works and equipment.
When fully refurbished, the provincial hospital will have six high dependence units and 20 ordinary beds for Covid-19.
All district hospitals are earmarked to have a minimum of 20 beds, each with oxygen infrastructure. There will be smaller isolation units to ensure widespread reach and to avoid moving patients.
Dr Mukuzunga said they were looking at about 23 facilities in Manicaland Province.