Mater Dei Hospital will step in and admit COVID-19 patients that need treatment since the two public hospitals Ekusileni Medical Centre and Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital are still not ready for admissions.
Ekusileni was identified as a national referral centre for COVID -19 patients while city council-run Thorngrove Hospital will serve local patients.
But both hospitals are still undergoing renovations, with Thorngrove Hospital citing funding challenges while some equipment meant for Ekusileni is stuck in South Africa.
This leaves Mater Dei, the only ready facility for any eventualities.
In an interview with the media, following a tour of Thorngrove and Ekusileni Hospitals, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Judith Ncube said the government had made arrangements to cater for any patients that might need hospitalisation.
“We need to push hard there are improvements that have been done and we are looking forward. But if we have a single person who may fall sick, he or she can be catered for. There are some arrangements put in place whilst doing our best at Thorngrove and Ekusileni,” she said.
“We also have Mater Dei, remember even it is a private institution, they are part of us, we are one as the people of Bulawayo. If there is a case we cannot fail to be in touch with an institution that has put all the systems in place. We are not going to fail as a country and as a government because we don’t want to lose lives, life is so precious.”
The minister said Mater Dei had all its systems in place and should there come a time when a COVID-19 patient had to be hospitalised, the hospital could assist.
“I’m saying Mater Dei is ready to receive (patients) but it’s a private institution but if there is a case we cannot fail as a government to make an arrangement when whosever is affected or fallen a victim (to COVID-19) that particular person would be looked after,” she said.
Ncube was unsure when Ekusileni would be ready to open its doors, as she claimed some of the equipment that was needed was stuck in South Africa due to the lockdown.
“Remember borders are still closed, the equipment which has to be bought from outside Zimbabwe, the ones that we don’t have locally have not come. The borders are still closed but we are trying our level best, a lot has been done as we are just waiting for its delivery.
“If I owned the border of South Africa, I was going to say the expected opening time frame but unfortunately we don’t. The South African border remains to South Africa,” said the state minister.
In light of the COVID-19 confirmed cases that seem to be spiralling in the country, Ncube encouraged citizens to pray.
“I want to encourage Bulawayo that as a Christian country, we need to have serious prayers that is very key,” she said.
Bulawayo still has 12 confirmed positive cases, with one death and four recoveries.
Nationally, Zimbabwe now has 51 cases, with four deaths and 18 recoveries.