Mukudzei Chingwere in Bulawayo
THE Government’s quest to revamp health services and guarantee universal coverage to improve people’s lives is gathering pace with President Mnangagwa today expected to officially open two major health facilities in Bulawayo.
The two facilities are a paediatric orthopaedic hospital and a Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre.
The paediatric orthopaedic facility — to be named Bulawayo Orthopaedic Hospital, is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and the third in Southern Africa.
It will focus on treating for free, children below 18 years with severe deformities and referred for specialist attention from public hospitals.
United Bulawayo Hospital’s Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre is expected to boost the country’s response to the global pandemic which has been commended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), Government partnered a non-governmental organisation, Cure, for the restoration of the Bulawayo Orthopaedic Hospital.
The children’s hospital administratively opened its doors in January and was fully licensed in February to start operations.
It is now set to be opened to the public following its endorsement by health authorities.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro said it was all systems go and confirmed the expected arrival of his principal.
“The President is expected to officially open the facilities tomorrow. I cannot say much but what I can say is that we expect these facilities to significantly boost our health delivery system,” he said.
Dr Mangwiro said they were happy with the work done to date and also commended the warming up to the Covid-19 vaccines by the people here.
“The uptake of the vaccines has improved and we urge people to be vaccinated to protect themselves and avoid a Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
“Also, we want to acknowledge the efforts of health workers. Like what the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga said, their welfare will be improved and we are working on a number of schemes in that regard,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He also expressed his satisfaction at the ongoing preparatory work for the opening of Ekusileni Medical Centre.
The giant medical institution is being prepared to start taking patients and Government has seconded health staff to augment infrastructural developments supported by Treasury as well as donations of equipment from various quarters.
“We are very happy with the progress done at the hospital and it is almost ready to start taking patients. What is left are a few administrative processes among other things but soon we expect it be ready,” said Dr Mangwiro.
In an interview, executive director of the hospital expected to opened by the President, Mr Jonathan Simpson said their services were for free and they would not consider their patients’ financial capacity.
“We are partnering with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and we are also involved in training. We want to make this hospital a centre of excellence.
“If we bottleneck our services here we will be overstretched so we are also a training centre in orthopaedics for doctors and nurses and we are not charging.”
“We have a maximum capacity of 50 beds but we have not yet opened all the beds. We have to scale up in relation to the number of surgeons available.
“All the services here are for fee and we want to give children a life in its fullness,” said Mr Simpson.
The hospital has also brought in a British specialist to practise here and lead the training of orthopaedics in Zimbabwe.
Dr Richard Gardner is no stranger to the African terrain having worked in Ethiopia and Malawi for a combined 10 years.
He is currently doing his three months acclimatisation at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for him to start practising here.
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