Open­ing date for Ekusileni

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Than­deka Moyo- Ndlovu Health Re­porter

EKUSILENI Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Bu­l­awayo will fi­nally open its doors to mem­bers of the pub­lic on Novem­ber 30 with a 50-bed ca­pac­ity amid rev­e­la­tions that the in­sti­tu­tion is now ready to ad­mit Covid-19 pa­tients.

The hospi­tal which has been des­ig­nated as a Covid-19 cen­tre, was closed more than 15 years ago when its equip­ment was de­clared ob­so­lete.

Ekusileni, a brain­child of late Vice-Pres­i­dent Dr Joshua Nkomo, has ex­pe­ri­enced a num­ber of false starts and nu­mer­ous ef­forts to re-open the in­sti­tu­tion whose build­ing is owned by the Na­tional So­cial Se­cu­rity Au­thor­ity (Nssa) have failed. The hospi­tal was opened in 2001 and closed in 2004.

Last month, how­ever, there was hope that the in­sti­tu­tion would be re-opened af­ter the Gov­ern­ment iden­ti­fied it as one of the in­sti­tu­tions that were ear­marked to house cases of Covid-19 in the city.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health and Child Care, as of Oc­to­ber 15, Zim­babwe had recorded 8 075 cases, 7 669 re­cov­er­ies and 231 Covid-19 deaths. Bu­l­awayo prov­ince ac­counts for 1 534 cases, 87 deaths and 1 404 re­cov­er­ies.

The seven-day rolling aver­age for new cases rose to 19 from 17, cu­mu­la­tive cases curve flat­tened while the na­tional case fa­tal­ity rate now stands at 2.9 per­cent as of Wed­nes­day.

Ekusileni has been des­ig­nated as one of the Covid-19 treat­ment cen­tres in Bu­l­awayo but the Gov­ern­ment wants it to be a spe­cial­ist med­i­cal train­ing cen­tre post the Covid-19 pan­demic.

Bu­l­awayo is home to four des­ig­nated cen­tres, and three are all un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tions since the out­break of Covid-19.

The oth­ers are Thorn­grove In­fec­tious Dis­eases Hospi­tal, the Old Bart­ley Memo­rial Block (BMB) within the United Bu­l­awayo Hos­pi­tals (UBH) which is now close to com­ple­tion and pri­vately-owned Mater Dei Hospi­tal.

The BMB is said to be al­most ready and will open its doors on Novem­ber 1 though au­thor­i­ties had pro­jected that by mid-this month Covid-19 pa­tients will be able to ac­cess treat­ment there.

Yes­ter­day UBH had two Covid-19 pa­tients who are said to be sta­ble and await­ing dis­charge.

Speak­ing during a tour of the iso­la­tion cen­tres yes­ter­day, Min­is­ter of Bu­l­awayo Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs and De­vo­lu­tion Cde Ju­dith Ncube said she was happy with the progress at all three health in­sti­tu­tions.

She also com­mended Bu­l­awayo residents for the pa­tience and sup­port ren­dered so far to en­sure the city is pre­pared to han­dle Covid-19 in case there is an up­surge of cases in need of treat­ment.

“We are pre­par­ing for the worst and our wish as a Gov­ern­ment is if we hap­pen to have an in­crease in cases, af­fected per­sons should be well re­ceived and well taken care of hence we are do­ing our best at Ekusileni, UBH and Mpilo B5 ward which was re­vamped by NetOne and TelOne,” said Min­is­ter Ncube.

“We are so happy be­cause of the role played by the com­mu­nity and that Ekusileni will be fi­nally open­ing on Novem­ber 30. We are open­ing with 50 beds but more beds are needed as we are not yet sure of the path this pan­demic will take.”

Min­is­ter Ncube said peo­ple should con­tinue wear­ing masks and prac­tis­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing to avoid be­ing caught in the sec­ond wave of

Covid-19 be­ing re­ported in some coun­tries.

She added that with the open­ing of schools, chil­dren must be mon­i­tored so that their risk to Covid-19 is re­duced.

UBH act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Dr Nar­cacius Dz­vanga said the BMB was 95 per­cent com­plete though the hospi­tal was al­ready at­tend­ing to peo­ple with Covid-19.

“We are near­ing the com­ple­tion of our Covid19 112 bed­ded BMB which will have 14 ICU beds and 10 beds for the high de­pen­dency unit. We were tar­get­ing to open mid-Oc­to­ber but en­gi­neers have told us we are run­ning be­hind sched­ule though on the first of Novem­ber we will take care of Covid-19 from this hospi­tal,” said Dr Dz­vanga.

“At the mo­ment we are lodg­ing Covid-19 some­where. We have two pa­tients ready for dis­charge who are in the hospi­tal. We wish to move them to the des­ig­nated cen­tre and we are sure that all will go well.”

Dr Dz­vanga said based on the cur­rent Covid-19 trend in Zim­babwe, he was sure there will not be time when the cen­tre will be over­whelmed by pa­tients.

He said the UBH out­pa­tients depart­ment had opened par­tially as mem­bers will be re­quired to book via the switch­board which has more than 10 lines.

“In an event of an over­flow the sys­tems are in place even though I don’t think we will be over­whelmed. We can­not ex­plain how our cases and deaths are still when com­pared to what we are see­ing on in­ter­na­tional news. Sci­en­tists can­not fig­ure out what re­ally is pro­tect­ing us and we thank God for that. It is very un­likely that we will be over­whelmed by cases,” added Dr Dz­vanga.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the UBH out-pa­tients depart­ment has opened par­tially and mem­bers of the pub­lic will have to book via phone calls as it can only ac­com­mo­date 115 pa­tients daily.

“We can only have 50 peo­ple at a time of which 20 are clean­ers and staff which leaves us with about 15 pa­tients who nor­mally bring es­corts. We will be able to at­tend to mem­bers of the pub­lic and close by 12PM so that we do the de­con­tam­i­na­tion and prepare for the next day,” he said.

Thorn­grove which is also un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tions is open and as of yes­ter­day there were two pa­tients who were in iso­la­tion. — @ thamamoe

VICE Pres­i­dent Kembo Mo­hadi yes­ter­day said the Gov­ern­ment is work­ing tire­lessly to fully im­ple­ment so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment poli­cies as it seeks to trans­form the coun­try into an up­per mid­dle-econ­omy by 2030 as out­lined in the rul­ing party’s 2018 elec­tions man­i­festo.

He was speak­ing during a tour of out­stand­ing Gov­ern­ment hous­ing projects in Beit­bridge which have been stalled by fis­cal re­lated chal­lenges.

The Vice Pres­i­dent said a lot of ground had been cov­ered to­wards de­liv­er­ing 1,5 mil­lion medium-in­come hous­ing units over the pe­riod 2018-2023.

VP Mo­hadi who chairs the so­cial de­vel­op­ment clus­ter in Cab­i­net said pro­vid­ing stan­dard, qual­ity and af­ford­able hous­ing to its work­ers and gen­eral cit­i­zens was of para­mount im­por­tance.

He said the Min­istry of Na­tional Hous­ing was cre­ated to en­sure that feat is achieved within target and that the se­cu­rity forces should also get de­cent hous­ing within their can­ton­ments.

“A num­ber of hous­ing projects had been stalled in the old dis­pen­sa­tion and we can­not let that go unat­tended un­der the New Dis­pen­sa­tion,” said VP Mo­hadi.

“Thus, I am mov­ing around with the min­is­ters who fall in that clus­ter to have a feel of the needs and sit­u­a­tion on the ground so that we make cor­rec­tive mea­sures.

“There is no way you can push for de­vel­op­ment as a leader with­out get­ting to the peo­ple on the ground.

“When we went to elec­tions, we promised Zim­bab­weans a num­ber of things which we are ful­fill­ing as we inch to­wards our en­vis­aged Vi­sion 2030.

“We have started work­ing on these in or­der of pri­or­ity. We are ac­tion peo­ple and not con­cerned with talk shows”.

VP Mo­hadi said un­der the cur­rent hous­ing de­vel­op­ment drive, the Gov­ern­ment will com­mit more re­sources to com­plete 16 du­plex flats, 52 F14 houses, and sev­eral gar­den flats to ac­com­mo­date scores of civil ser­vants de­ployed to Beit­bridge.

He ex­pressed con­cern over the di­lap­i­dated state of the Beit­bridge hous­ing project which has re­ceived lit­tle at­ten­tion in the last decade.

The VP noted the out­stand­ing works on the project during his tour with Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter July Moyo, and Na­tional Hous­ing Min­is­ter, Daniel Garwe.

“We have seen, we have con­quered, and this can’t go on for­ever.

“We are go­ing to bring the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment on the ground so that he gets the quan­tum of the re­sources re­quired and make funds avail­able.

“This project should be com­pleted by the first quar­ter of next year, con­sid­er­ing that the tech­nocrats on the ground say they need at least three months to com­plete in­side and out­side in­fra­struc­ture,” said the VP.

He said Beit­bridge was the face of the coun­try to those en­ter­ing from South Africa hence the need to af­ford the hous­ing project the ur­gent at­ten­tion it de­serves.

VP Mo­hadi said Zim­bab­weans should be proud of work­ing to­gether to build their econ­omy and in­fra­struc­ture from their own re­sources.

He said the coun­try was un­der at­tack in­ter­na­tion­ally and was not get­ting any­thing from any­one.

“We are on our own and we will do things in our own way to achieve the tar­gets of our man­i­festo.

“Note that we have re­built the Cy­clone Idai rav­aged ar­eas in Man­i­ca­land and we are grad­u­ally up­grad­ing na­tional roads and we will get there.

“We have been re­ly­ing on our lo­cal brains to turn things around and in no time, we will be one of the strong­est economies in the re­gion,” said VP Mo­hadi.

He said the Gov­ern­ment was also con­cerned with the plight and dig­nity of civil ser­vants, which it will con­tin­u­ally up­grade.

VP Mo­hadi said it was good for any Gov­ern­ment to have highly mo­ti­vated work­ers to fully im­ple­ment its pro­grammes to achieve its goals.

“That can only be achieved if we have, we cater for the foot sol­diers’ hous­ing, health and re­mu­ner­a­tion needs and pro­vid­ing qual­ity, af­ford­able and de­cent ac­com­mo­da­tion for them,” he said.

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