The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
BULAWAYO hospitals require 200 ventilators and 500 beds for them to be fully equipped to deal with coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the event that more people are infected and need hospitalisation in the city.
As of Friday, the city had the highest number of Covid-19 cases, at 10, in the country with health officials calling on the need for people to be more aggressive in terms of observing measures to minimise the spread of the virus.
The list of equipment was compiled by the “I am for Bulawayo — Fighting Covid-19 initiative” which is working with the Government and the Bulawayo City Council in spearheading the equipping of the city hospitals as part of the fight against the pandemic.
According to the list, the initiative requires US$10,7 million for it to ensure that Mpilo Central, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases, Mater Dei and Ekusileni hospitals are fully equipped to handle Covid-19 cases. The initiative has since divided its response into four main pillars — bio-medical, social, behaviour change communication and resource mobilisation.
According to the financial breakdown, the bio-medical response will take the bulk of the money required with a projected budget of US$10 million, social response requires; US$500 000, behaviour change; US$100 000 and resource mobilisation also requires US$100 000.
“The bio-medical response is aimed at strengthening health systems to reduce Covid-19 infections, morbidity and mortalities. The main activities being to secure equipment, that is 500 beds, 20 defibrillators, 200 ventilators, 10 dialysis machines, linen for the 500 beds, polymerase chain reaction test kits, generators and solar installations, hospital furniture and train health care providers and co-ordinate response.
“For the social response, the aim is to sustain livelihoods, food and income security, psycho-social well-being of citizens during the Covid-19 season, with the activities being to provide food baskets or cash transfers, hygiene kits, and access to psycho-social services, and advocate for safe livelihood activities,” the initiative said.
The initiative also aims to provide effective communication and citizen engagement in relation to hygiene and social distancing through strengthening citizen engagement platforms and behaviour change facilitation and the creation and reproduction of information, education and communication materials.
“The initiative seeks to achieve the containment and effective management of the Covid-19 in Bulawayo and surrounding areas through furnishing and equipping the four hospitals — Mpilo, Thorngrove, Mater Dei and Ekusileni — selected for comprehensive care, treatment and support following testing, contact tracing and isolation of potential Covid-19 cases in Bulawayo.
“It is a multi-stakeholder group that brings together medical professionals, the business community, NGOs, churches, academic institutions, the Zimbabwean Diaspora and the Bulawayo community at large, to mobilise resources (human, financial and material) to fight against Covid-19 in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, and surrounding areas,” reads part of the document.
For accountability purposes the initiative is being accounted for by PNA Accountants with Deloitte being confirmed as the auditor while the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) will provide secretariat services and Coghlan and Welsh are the legal advisors.
The initiative, chaired by Bulawayo industrialist, Mr Busisa Moyo was launched two weeks ago and is working with the Government to, among other things, spearhead the reopening of Ekusileni Hospital which has been closed since 2001.
Speaking during the virtual launch of the initiative, Mr Moyo said their task was to spearhead the fight against the spread of the pandemic in the city.
He called upon all businesses, the church and individuals to donate towards the cause, noting that the only way to win the fight against the spread of Covid-19 was for all to come together rather than wait for the Government to play a lead role.
“We are not in this for the money, ours is all about coming together and seeing how we can help our city fight the spread of this pandemic, which is why all the monies received will be accounted for and audited, all of us are doing this on a voluntary basis,” said Mr Moyo.