Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo received its first consignment of three portable ventilators and other goods such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and foodstuffs from well-wishers in the city.
The hospital, a 200 bed capacity, was identified as a national referral centre for COVID-19 treatment.
The three portable ventilators from Alliance Health come after a multi-stakeholder initiative- #Iam4Byo Fighting COVID-19- began mobilising material, financial, and human resources towards capacitating Ekusileni into a treatment centre.
Speaking at the donation held on Wednesday at Ekusileni, Alliance Health representative Vimbai Masamba, said since the organisation was working in the medical field, they saw it fit to make the contribution after realising the impact of COVID-19.
“Alliance Health is an administrator for medical aid and medical insurance. We have been in existence for just over 10 years operating in medical field and saw the impact COVID-19 has done to livelihoods so we have taken initiative to contribute. We brought three portable ventilators that you can move around and do not need to be plugged. We also have face shields, masks and gloves for frontline staff,” she said.
Tassburg, a steel fastener manufacturer, donated more PPE including face shields while Rainbow Tourism Group chipped in with bedding sheets, 300 pillows and 300 pillow cases while Q-rent handed over three computers to Mpilo Hospital that would be used for data capturing.
Other donated goods came from Events Corner, an association of small to medium enterprises into catering and events planning who contributed donated 20 by 10kg mealie- meal packets while E’pap Enterprises donated 40 by 500 grams of the vitamin filled porridge.
Minister of State for State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Bulawayo, Judith Ncube, received the donation on behalf of the institution.
The ventilators came it at a time Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni revealed that the city’s main isolation centre, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital, still has no ventilators and an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
He appealed to the relevant authorities to swiftly address the resource gaps to enable the city to efficiently respond to the pandemic.
#Iam4Byo is a multi- stakeholder group that brings together medical professionals, the business community, Non-Governmental Organisations, churches, academic institutions the Zimbabwean diaspora and the Bulawayo Community at large to mobilise resources to fight against COVID-19 in the second largest city and surrounding areas.
The initiative was launched on April 10 and has been mobilising resources to equip Ekusileni Medical Centre as a national treatment centre for COVID-19.
The Confederation of Zimbabwean Industries (CZI) is handling the donations for accountability purposes while Coghlan and Welsh law firm provides legal guidance.
Deputy Chair of #Iam4Byo, Dr Lindiwe Majele-Sibanda and Dr Absalom Dube who is in charge of the Ekusileni were also in attendance including other members of the initiative.