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Mr President open Ekusileni Hospital - People are Dying

06 Feb 2021 at 19:14hrs | Views
In June 2018, ahead of the July 2018 general elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the government had engaged the Indian Sharda Group of Institutions (SGI) to operate the health facility, Ekusileni Hospital. In March, 2020 SGI Chief Operations Officer, Dr Raja said they had received the green light from the Ministry of Health and Child Care to start the operations at the institution.

"We have received the affirmation letter from the Health Ministry in Zimbabwe and shortly our team will visit Harare to close down final points of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be signed based on waiver for Indian doctors and nurses so that they can be in Zimbabwe and do their work as required." Raja said.

Later in the same month the Indian investor, SGI abandoned the Ekusileni project under unclear circumstances.

In April, 2020 the government announced its intentions to reopen Ekusileni as a Covid-19 isolation referral centre. After the announcement, Ekusileni Hospital started recruiting a number of health personnel with the acting chief executive officer, Dr Absalom Dube revealing that they had managed to fill up to 70% of the required personnel in order to be able to admit the first 50 patients.

This was after the government had unfrozen 95 posts for the hospital with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) providing the senior nursing officer.

"However, our full staff compliment for the first 50 patients stands at 240 and when we eventually operate at full capacity, which is 200 beds, we will require 480 staffers, inclusive of 196 nurses." Dr Absalom Dube said. "We are continuing with our engagements with the employing authority so that when we start the first phase of reopening the hospital, which is Covid-19 isolation centre, we will be in a position to fully service our patients." Dube said during a tour of the facility by the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Cde Raymore Machingura in September, 2020.

In the following month, October, 2020, Vice President Constantinto Chiwenga, who doubles up as Health and Child Care minister visited Ekusileni Hospital where he pledged to ensure the operationalisation of the facility. During the particular visit, November 30, 2020 was set as a re-opening date.

Vice President Chiwenga said, "My ministry and concerned stakeholders will attend to shortcomings highlighted in the presentations by the Hospital Staff in a concerted bid to make sure that the facility is ready to take up Covid-19 cases. The idea of increasing referrals hospitals dovetails with the Ministry of Health and Child Care's ongoing restructuring exercise I pronounced last month. In our effort to ‘leave no one behind,' as espoused in our motto, the Ministry will make sure that our citizens easily access medical facilities, without enduring long journeys."
The Vice President continued, "In the initial phase, Ekusileni Hospital will be operationalized as a National Covid-19 Referral Centre, in conformance with the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signed by the government, Ministry of Health and Child Care, National Social Security Authority (NSSA), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Bulawayo City Council, and I Am for Bulawayo Fighting COVID-19 Trust."

"In the second phase , Ekusileni will be utilised as a Specialist, Research and Teaching Institution after curbing the Covid-19 Pandemic. This subsequent phase is to be run by NUST andotherstakeholders.
 Therefore,thisinstitutionshallbeexpandedandallwhatisneededwill have to be provided so that it becomes a teaching referral, a research it will be one of our quinary hospitals." said the Vice President.

In May, 2020, soon after identification of places of Covid-19 referral center, of which Ekusileni Hospital was one of them, a group of business people, health experts, academics, civic organizations and nongovernmental organizations, came together under the banner, Iam4Byo Fighting Covid-19. This initiative was geared towards resources mobilization to ensure the hospital re-opens. A target of between six and eight weeks was set to ensure at least the facility has 50 beds to pave way for its reopening as soon as possible.

The IAm4BYO Trust led by United Refineries chief executive officer Busisa Moyo, received donations on behalf of Ekusileni Hospital from the following list, among others:

Alliance Health donated three portable ventilators, Bulawayo Football Giants donated goods worth ZW$16 000, Highlanders donated goods such as toilet rolls, soya chunks, mega-pine, hand sanitisers, dishwasher, surgical gloves, cotton wool, surgical masks etc., Tassburg, a steel fastener manufacturer, donated PPE including face shields, Rainbow Tourism Group donated bedding sheets, 300 pillows and 300 pillow cases, Events Corner donated 20x10kg mealie-meal packets, E'pap Enterprises donated 40x500 grams of vitamin filled porridge, United Refineries donated ZW$60million and 70 beds, Friends of IAm4BYO USA donated US$21000 which was used to purchase 16 beds. Additional donors such as Edgars, Lobels Bread, World Vision, among others, donated equipment such as gas tanks, latex gloves, respirators etc.

This was the most responded to appeal never seen before because of the deadliness of the pandemic.

Moredonorswerestillforthcomingyetthehospitalisstillnotfunctioningdespitethe number of people getting infected and dying primarily from lack of facilities and care.
However, to date the re-opening of Ekusileni still remains a pie in the sky.
As at February 1, 2021, Zimbabwe has recorded 33 548 cases and 1 234 deaths of Covid-19 since recording its first infection in March last year. Of these, a little more than 24 872 people have recovered from the respiratory disease. In the period of December last year to January

2021 infection figures increased greatly. The infection numbers are projected to increase exponentially in the next months as evidenced by the number of deaths most recently. This is a terrible pandemic that requires an expeditious reaction than any other in the most recent past. We therefore appeal to the President to open Ekusileni Hospital to save lives.
--Dr. Edwin Moyo

Source - Dr Edwin Moyo
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