Ekusileni Medical Centre officials have announced that the designated Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre will open its doors on November 30, 2020, and will be ready to admit critically ill patients.
This was revealed during a tour led by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Judith Ncube, this Friday, who led local stakeholders in touring Covid-19 isolation centres in the city.
Ekusileni has experienced a number of false starts and two weeks ago, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who was in Bulawayo committed himself to addressing the ‘shortcomings’ that affected its operationalisation.
The hospital has a possible 200-bed capacity but will for starters admit 50 patients.
Ncube told the press that the opening of Ekusileni on November 30 was in line with the government’s wish to stay ready in case there was an upsurge of covid-19 cases that needed hospitalisation.
“This will be a national Covid-19 referral centre and we have to prepare ourselves for more infections but otherwise health professionals and other agencies are working hard not to have people admitted. We have to prepare for the worst in case anything happens since we don’t know how this Covid-19 virus will behave,” she said.
“Our wish as a government is persons should be well treated, received and taken care of hence we are doing our level best,not only here at Ekusileni but the same is happening at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and in Mpilo’s B5 ward. We still need more beds to be on the safe side and together we can fight this pandemic.”
During the tour of Ekusileni, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Absalom Dube, said much of the infrastructural work has been done and they are working on setting up 50 beds.
Some of the beds at Ekusileni were donated by Bishops from various churches while the I Am For Bulawayo Fighting COVID Trust complemented that by purchasing the other critical equipment, Dr Dube noted.
“We still need to buy bed side tables, foot stools and other items to make all 48 beds fully kitted. So far we have done 30 beds and await to do the other 18 beds. We still need to do partitions so that the rooms have a semi private set up for the patients,” he said.
For the ICU department, Dr Dube said Ekusileni had two wings each with a capacity of eight beds.
“What is left are the bedside assortments and monitors to make staff deliver quality service to patients. We are in the process of repairing ceiling and nurses’ stations and we are expecting funds for that very soon. Once they come, we finish off those works and we will be ready to take in our first patient,” he said.
Ekusileni has six operating theatres, of which Dr Dube said a donor pledged to fully kit one, from the overheads to machines.
“The other five still need to be fitted with theatre lights, overhead light for anaesthetic machines and other assortments.”
The acting CEO said they were very appreciative to the private sector and to the government in terms of mobilising more money.
“We now have to follow the tendering process, which takes a long time to do,” he said.
As for water supply, Dr Dube said Ekusileni was equipped with four boreholes.
“Two boreholes were sunk and kitted by How Mine, another one was drilled by Heaven Drillings while a fourth borehole was done by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). In his visit, the VP said what we had in mind too, which was the hospital needs to make its own bottled water for patients. This is our plan for the future so that we don’t buy water but pack and sell it to make more money for running our operations,” he said.
The CEO added that “once Covid-19 was over, the government had approved for NUST to take over the hospital as a specialist teaching hospital.”