The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
AFTER numerous attempts and false starts, Ekusileni Hospital in Bulawayo will finally open its doors to the public on Friday.
Another Bulawayo Hospital, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases is also set to be officially opened on the same day, it has been learnt. The two hospitals have been undergoing rehabilitation works since last year when the Government identified them as national Covid-19 isolation centres.
However, it is the re-opening of Ekusileni hospital that will bring smiles to most Bulawayo residents as the hospital has been closed since 2004 because it had outdated equipment. The hospital, a brainchild of late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo, has experienced a number of false starts and numerous efforts to re-open the institution whose building is owned by the National Social Security Company (Nssa) have failed.
The hospital was opened in 2001 and closed in 2004 because it had outdated equipment. Last year in April, there was hope that the institution would be re-opened after the Government identified the centre as one of the institutions earmarked to house cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the city.
The Government tasked non-state players — under the banner of IAM4BYO-Fighting Covid-19 initiative — with the role of leading the gathering of resources to open the institution. The Government also chipped in with financial resources to speed up the rehabilitation works.
Commenting on the latest developments, the chairperson of the Covid-19 provincial taskforce, Bulawayo Metropolitan Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Judith Ncube confirmed that the two institutions were set to be officially opened on Friday.
“For now, it is our wish that as Bulawayo, guided by the Ministry of Health and Child Care that we show the entire nation and appreciate the efforts done by all players who came on board to make this a reality. We therefore believe that it would be an honour if this occasion is graced by the country’s First Citizen (President Mnangagwa) because this is a huge accomplishment by the city,” said Minister Ncube.
Bulawayo has three public hospitals designated as Covid-19 centres namely, Ekusileni Medical Centre, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
The fourth centre is the Mater Dei hospital which is privately-owned and run by the Roman Catholic Church.
While Thorngrove Hospital is a dedicated infectious disease hospital, its isolation ward was not in an ideal state as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards to deal with Covid-19 patients.