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$5m for Manama Hospital repairs

by Staff reporter
22 Oct 2021 at 05:29hrs | Views
THE Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has availed ZW$5 million needed to rehabilitate Manama Mission Hospital and the army has since been seconded to carry out construction works at the health institution that was destroyed by heavy rains early this month.

The rains which were accompanied by strong winds left the hospital without electricity and damaged solar panels, water tanks and telecommunication cables resulting in the suspension of critical services.

The roofs of the maternity ward, family and child health ward, female ward and antenatal clinic were blown off.

The damage has led to the suspension of services such as the expanded programme of immunisation (EPI), maternity delivery services, postnatal care services, isolation of Covid-19 positive mothers, antenatal care services and integrated management of neonatal and childhood illnesses (IMNCI).

Four departments at the hospital were affected which has forced hospital staff to rely on four remaining wards for patients.

The infrastructure damage at the hospital was estimated at US$40 000.

People now have to travel to Sengezana Clinic which is about 43 kilometres away from the hospital to access vaccination and immunisation services.

Solar panels which power the vaccines fridge were also damaged and the hospital had to move vaccines and other medication that requires refrigeration to Sengezana Clinic.

Manama Mission Hospital was built in 1939 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) using farm bricks and its roofing is a combination of corrugated iron and asbestos sheets. It is situated 85 kilometres south of Gwanda Town. The catchment population of Manama Hospital calculated based on the 1992 census is 82 500.

In an interview on the sidelines of a national preparedness planning workshop with focus on the emergencies related to the 2021-2022 rainfall season on Wednesday in Bulawayo, CPU director Mr Nathan Nkomo said money has been mobilised to assist the hospital.

Mr Nkomo said it was crucial that the hospital be brought back to life due to its wide coverage and the critical services it offers.

"The bills of quantities we got from Matabeleland South province from the damage which they rapidly accessed is US$40 000.When we convert it using the official exchange rate it amounted to less than ZW$5 million. The money was mobilized from the temporary deposits accounts in the various provinces and channeled towards Manama Hospital disaster.

"We have moved ZW$5 million and we think those resources will see us through the rapid response system in putting back Manama Hospital to its functionality. When you look at Manama Hospital it is a referral hospital for many districts in the province like Beitbridge. So that kind of infrastructure needs our intervention."

Mr Nkomo said the Ministry of Health and Child Care has also requested the army to assist in the rehabilitation of the affected wards and solar field.

He bemoaned lack of regular maintenance of critical social amenities infrastructure like hospitals and schools which is resulting in climate induced damage.

The CPU director challenged members of the public to prepare for disasters that the country is likely to face during the coming rainy season following the prediction of normal to above rains by the Meteorological Service Department.

"Every district, every community, every family and every village in this country must be geared towards preparing for that kind of a season. What we have witnessed to date is that the rainfall season is accompanied with some hailstorms, strong winds which have already destroyed very critical infrastructure," he said.

Mr Nkomo said the CPU committees throughout the country were activated during the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and now need to also focus on the upcoming rainy season.

He said the mining sector and local authorities must join CPU committees as they have a crucial role in the protection of people.

"With the devolution mantra, you want a local authority which is a third tier of government closer to the people to play its part. They must mimic what the centre does in terms of protecting our people. We expect to see local authorities' civil protection committees which they use to assess the safety and security issues within areas of their jurisdiction," said Mr Nkomo.

Gwanda District medical officer Dr Blessed Gwarimbo said the process to start reconstruction work are now in motion.

He said the Zimbabwe National Army has been seconded to assist.

"Two bill of quantities were done, one by the army and another by the Ministry of Local Government. We are now doing the tendering processes which will lead to buying of material for rehabilitating the hospital.

The normal procurement regulation has been shortened so that we speed up the process. We must be done with the tendering and buying of materials in the next three weeks. The army will do the construction work," he said.

Source - The Chronicle