Ekusileni Medical Centre, one of Bulawayo`s designated Covid-19 isolation and treatment centres, is in dire need of a Covid-19 compliant air conditioning system and sterilising equipment for it to start taking in patients.
This was revealed by the board chairperson of the I Am4Byo Against COVID19 initiative, Busisa Moyo, during an interview on The Breakfast Club, Tuesday, where he appealed to wellwishers to assist in raising at least USD$26 000 which is needed to cover the costs.
Ekusileni was in April set aside by the government to serve as a Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre and has been undergoing renovations together with the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital.
“We need two critical things namely negative pressure which costs about USD$26 000. We also need a steriliser to sterilise the equipment and utensils used by the doctors in the hospital. These are the two most critical things, with them we can open and start taking in people. The institution already has secured piped oxygen,” Moyo said.
Negative pressure is generated and maintained by a ventilation system that removes more air from the room than air is allowed into the room.
“Covid-19 is a unique virus with certain specifics that are needed. It does not need normal hospitalisation. There is a need for negative pressure. This virus is highly infectious so if you have a normal air conditioning system (which is there at Ekusileni), without organising it properly, it can worsen infections for health caregivers attending to the patient. This negative pressure hence takes the air which is covid infested out of the system,” Moyo explained.
He reiterated that the hospital also needs to secure more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure that health caregivers can be protected from contracting the virus when the medical centre eventually opens.
147 health workers in Bulawayo have contracted Covid-19 a situation which has affected the health care delivery system in the city.
“With Covid-19 you don’t need to have a grand opening. With this virus, you just wake up and you need to open. PPE is our biggest challenge, even in the other hospitals,” he said.
“Remember that when a caregiver walks into a Covid-19 hospital they need to be putting on level three protective clothing so they need a special area to wear their clothing.”
Moyo highlighted that another challenge they are facing is bringing in equipment such as washing machines they bought from South Africa into the country.
He said owing to the nature of the virus, laundry for the linen used in the hospital needs to be done within the premises to prevent the spreading of the virus.
“We also need to get mattresses. We have bought 64 beds out of 250. We still need 186 beds before we can start operating. We have decided to start with the few beds that we have we will arrange to resource the hospital with staff,” said Moyo.