Ventilator crisis stalls Gweru Hospital ICU
THE construction of Gweru Provincial Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has been completed, but its opening has been delayed by lack of ventilators.
The opening of the ICU is expected to reduce the number of deaths related to life threatening illnesses and injuries in the Midlands province.
Gweru Provincial Hospital Superintendent Dr Fabian Mashingaidze yesterday said the Government was still to deliver four ventilators that help patients who are physically unable to breathe, or breathing with some difficulty to breathe.
Dr Mashingaidze said the new ICU would have three beds.
He said the Midlands State University had engaged an anaesthetist to work in the ICU.
“Everything is in place in the ICU at Gweru Provincial Hospital. The only missing things are four ventilators. You can ask Ministry officials on that issue.”
The Secretary for Health and Child Care, Dr Gerald Gwinji, said it would take about four months for the ventilators to be delivered to the hospital.
“We expect four ventilators for the hospital in the context of the Chinese equipment supply of which three will be deployed and one provided as a backup. Delivery is expected within three to four months as these are coming as a full consignment with other pieces of equipment. In the meanwhile we are looking at moving at least two sets from institutions with a bit of excess capacity to allow the hospital to operate its ICU,” he said.
Recently, Dr Mashingaidze said the ICU cares for critical patients and transportation of such patients is very risky because the patients will be in need of special treatment “right there.”
“So referring them to Bulawayo or Harare was very risky and with this new ICU, we will save lives,” he said.
Dr Mashingaidze said Gweru Provincial Hospital was the biggest referral hospital in the province located on one of the busiest highways in the country – the Harare-Bulawayo road and therefore needed to have an ICU.
“An ICU caters for patients with severe and lifethreatening illnesses and injuries which require constant, close monitoring and support from specialist equipment and medications in order to ensure normal bodily functions. Common conditions that are treated within ICUs include, trauma, multiple organ failure and sepsis,” he said.— @pchitumba1.
Dr Gerald Gwinji