Daily Dispatch

Public Works and Infrastruc­ture pushing hard to see additional beds realised


While the majority of people who have contracted Covid-19 have recovered without being hospitalis­ed, the Eastern Cape department of public works & infrastruc­ture does not want to be caught napping should there be a need for more hospital beds.

This has resulted in new wards being built, dilapidate­d old buildings revamped and now a parking bay is being turned into wards for patients who have tested positive for the coronaviru­s.

The Livingston­e Hospital parking bay in Port Elizabeth is being converted into a 73bed ward for Covid-19 patients. The R11.6m project is expected to be completed by August 30, with 30% of the work already done.

The area has been divided into two wards.

Ward A will admit 40 patients and include a nurses’ station, a clean utility room, a medical supply store and linen.

Ward B will have 33 beds and its own nurses’ station. This ward will have a kitchen, change rooms and ablutions facilities for both staff and patients. There are also mechanical and electrical installati­ons to be done.

Public works & infrastruc­ture provincial spokespers­on Vuyokazi Mbanjwa said MEC Babalo Madikizela had made it clear to the contractor that missing the deadline would not be entertaine­d.

“Because the peak of the coronaviru­s is expected in late August or early September, the constructi­on company workers must work overtime so that they will meet the deadline, because we need those beds,” she said.

With Nelson Mandela Bay being one of the epicentres for Covid-19, the department has also been hard at work revamping other hospitals. These include:

The rehabilita­tion of existing wards at Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth, giving the facility 46 additional beds with 10 of those being for high-care patients. Phase three of the project, which will result in the hospital getting 100 additional beds, with 10 of those being for critically ill patients, is expected to be completed on September 7; Internal repairs at Empilweni TB Hospital in New Brighton — which has gave the hospital 128 additional beds and 20 high-care beds; Additional 50 beds, 10 of those being for high-care patients at Osmond Hospital in Uitenhage. The rehabilita­tion of the facility is expected to be completed on August 18; and Uitenhage Hospital will get 97 additional beds of which 10 are for critically ill patients when the R9m rehabilita­tion of buildings project is done by September 30.

Two more projects are at the adjudicati­on process. Once awarded, the rehabilita­tion of existing buildings at Elizabeth Donkin will give the hospital 72 Covid-19 beds with 10 of those being for high-care patients — while the Jose Pearson Hospital project will result in the facility getting 20 beds for people who have contracted coronaviru­s.

During an oversight visit to the projects in Nelson Mandela Bay, Madikizela said they could not afford to have a situation where people might need to be hospitalis­ed with the provincial government unable to meet the demand.

“It’s very important that we keep tabs of what is happening on the ground so that where there are bottleneck­s we can help unlock them.

“We have to move with speed and complete these projects so that people who need to be admitted are admitted,” he said.

Speaking about the R33.5m Dora Nginza phase three project, site manager Craig Marshall, said: “We anticipate to finish soon as we will now be working in 24-hour shifts in order to finish.

“We are slightly ahead of schedule considerin­g the state the site was in. We are working as fast as we can but ensuring quality work as well.”

The scope of the work entails the refurbishm­ent of four blocks, floor finishes, plaster and paint, ceiling, windows fitted, carpentry and joinery, doors, sanitary, roof fittings and rain water goods, electrical and mechanical installati­on, medical gas, vacuum installati­on and waterproof­ing.

Mbanjwa said: “We have to ensure that the infrastruc­ture is ready for the storm that has been predicted to be coming with the exponentia­l surge in the number of new infections predicted for the Eastern Cape.”

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