Funds threaten Thorngrove Hospital renovations

Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital in Bulawayo requires ZWL$46 million to complete the much-needed and urgent renovations at its isolation ward to be able to cater for COVID-19 patients.

The hospital, a COVID-19 treatment centre, closed on April 22 and was expected to reopen after two weeks.

But due to funding constraints, work at the isolation ward has been slow and if resources are not availed in time, the construction deadline would be further missed.

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) had estimated that the whole project would cost ZWL$74 million, of which the government released ZWL$10 million.

The project cost was then revised downwards after contractors submitted their quotations and donors took some costs off.

In an interview with the media after a tour of Thorngrove Hospital, Friday by the COVID-19 Provincial Taskforce, BCC Project Manager, Partson Mashamba, said 70 percent of the construction works have been completed.

“We still have to do the plastering, brickwork, flooring, epoxying, ceiling, electrical works and need ZWL$46 million to finish the work. The figure excludes work that is to be done in the kitchen, laundry and administration block,” he said.

Mashamba said the builders would be unable to progress to next stage of activities if the money was not availed.

“We won’t really stop building as we have other activities that are happening now, but we are unable to progress to other activities. We were looking at finishing work at the Isolation ward by Sunday next week, which is end of the month that’s if funds are availed,” said Mashamba.

He added that Thorngrove’s isolation ward had a carrying capacity of 40 beds.

“At the most, the ward can carry about 40 beds but we are currently putting 26 beds on hospital gas with a provision of extension,” Mashama said.

Also assisting the BCC do the work, are artisans from the army, prisons, and public works.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Judith Ncube, said she was happy that there was some noticeable progress since her last visit.

“A lot has been done because on our last visit we were not happy at all. Deputy Minister of Health ( Dr John Mangwiro) was unhappy. But today we can tell men are working. The workers have achieved a lot, they have done the extension, roofing, plastering inside and are left with a few things,” she said.

Ncube committed herself to work on sourcing more funding for the hospital.

“I will do it and find a way of manoeuvring,” she said as she tasked the BCC to send a list of resources needed.

“May we have this information by 2pm today (Friday), to see what we can source and borrow to avoid stoppages because we want to finish this project.”

BCC Director of Housing and Community Services, Dictor Khumalo, said the resource list had been sent to Ministry of Finance and that of Public Works but promised to send another one to the Minister of State.

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