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Bulawayo medical lab gets US$1,5m injection

by Staff reporter
20 Oct 2022 at 05:57hrs | Views
The equivalent of US$1,5 million has been injected by the Government into the major medical laboratory under construction at United Bulawayo Hospitals.

The laboratory is expected to be one of the largest laboratories in the country and eliminate the need to outsource some services for the hospital.

Work on the facility began in earnest five months ago after stalling for about four years due to various challenges.

UBH is currently running its laboratory in three rooms where one room has been divided to run four diagnostic tests while another room is being used to conduct viral load tests.

UBH acting chief medical laboratory scientist Ms Shyline Ndebele said the lab would house departments such as haematology, biochemistry and immunology.

It will also have services not available at the hospital at the moment including the blood blank and histology that are outsourced.

"At the moment we are referring histology samples to Mpilo central hospital. We are not covering blood banks so we are getting those services from the National Blood Services. When it comes to results turnaround time, outsourcing prolonged it resulting in patients receiving their results late," she said.

She said where results were taking at least four weeks to come back, the new lab would enable the hospital to release test results within a week for better management of patients.

Once complete, the lab will have a staff of 37 scientists and will help in enhancing staff retention as the hospital has been losing scientists who want to specialise in areas currently not available.

UBH acting chief executive Dr Harrison Rambanapasi the hospital had undertaken a lot of construction, expansion and renovation to improve health services.

"Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, UBH has managed to score a few goals in terms of infrastructure and in terms of services that we have at this hospital. The construction of the laboratory is currently at upper window level.

"We started constructing it in 2017 but then progress stalled because of a number of reasons. Work started work five months ago and progress is going on very well," he said.

"We are a central hospital with a bigger mandate so we get referrals from a big chunk of this country so the infrastructure that we have should reflect the level where we are operating at.

"Currently the lab we are using is a small three-roomed unit, which limits the number of people we can employ there and the number of machines that can be accommodated. Consequently, it can limit the tests and services that we are able to offer and give us an opportunity to expand the medical laboratory services, medical tests that we are able to offer."

Dr Rambanapasi said besides the lab, UBH had almost completed the renovation of the family health services centre which would cater for obstetric and gynaecological procedures.

The facility was refurbished with funding from the Government and UNFPA and would house two operating rooms. It will be used to conduct obstetric fistula operations among others.

The projects being carried out at UBH are part of the major transformation initiatives being rolled out by the Second Republic at public hospitals to ensure universal access to quality healthcare for all.

Meanwhile, the renovation of three blocks of flats for doctors at Mpilo central hospital is now at an advanced stage with renovation of two complete.

The flats were destroyed by fire in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and the hospital has received funding from Government to restore the blocks of flats to ensure doctors have adequate accommodation.

Mpilo Hospital chief executive Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said there had been massive progress and the outstanding works would be complete by Mid-November.

"We have acute shortage of accommodation for our staff members so these flats will alleviate these challenges and will also help to retain some of the staff members as an incentive for them to work here at the hospital.

"We are grateful to the Government for availing funds for us to achieve this kind of progress and to the partners who have worked hard to make this possible," he said.

Source - The Herald