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Ekusileni in dire straits

by Staff reporter
23 Jul 2020 at 20:29hrs | Views
AUTHORITIES at Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo are struggling to raise the US$3,4 million required to upgrade the facility to enable it to cater for COVID-19 patients.

Authorities said they had targeted to open doors to the public at the beginning of this month, but the programme had been derailed by cash challenges.

Government in April announced that Ekusileni Medical Centre would be used as a COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre after it emerged that the Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital was ill-equipped to deal with burgeoning coronavirus cases.

On Tuesday, Bulawayo had 546 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths out of the 1 820 positive cases and 26 deaths recorded countrywide.

Yesterday, Ekusileni Medical Centre acting chief executive officer Absalom Dube, in an appeal for aid, said they were yet to raise the funds to fully equip the facility.

"What I know is that there is something being done by the stakeholders to assist the hospital with funds. There have been funds coming from the government, while the #IAM4BYO initiative is also fundraising for the hospital," Dube said.

"There is some money from both the government and the private sector, but I do not have figures at hand, so there are civil renovations going on. However, we are not yet ready to admit patients. I cannot give the exact timeframe of when renovations will be complete, but we are looking at at least opening before the end of August if all goes according to plan."

Dube said the 200-bed hospital would start off with 50 beds and gradually increase admissions. "We appeal to stakeholders to approach us and tell us how they want to assist so that the hospital starts operating," Dube said.

After the declaration of Ekusileni Medical Centre as a COVID-19 centre, a private organisation #IAM4BYOFighting COVID-19 was tasked to mobilise the resources for all health facilities in the city.

In April, #IAM4BYO deputy chairperson Lindiwe Sibanda said US$3,4 million was required to spruce up the Ekusileni Medical Centre.

Companies such as Edgars, National Tested Seeds, Innscor Africa, and #IAM4BYO initiative in the United States, among others, have been donating to the institution.

Ekusileni Medical Centre, the brainchild of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, has faced challenges since inception with government being accused of sabotaging the project.

Source - newsday