The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
THE Government has secured funding for the rehabilitation of Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and the equipping of Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo to become a coronavirus (Covid-19) isolation facility.
This comes in the wake of the spread of the disease that has to date seen 500 000 people infected with the pandemic globally. As of Friday, the country had recorded seven positive cases of the disease, including one death.
Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obadiah Moyo told Sunday News yesterday that work would soon be starting at the two Bulawayo hospitals, adding that the Government was also working on a mapping model that will see every district in the country having a Covid-19 isolation unit.
“We have given the green light to private funders who will soon be moving in to rehabilitate Thorngrove Hospital. The funders will also be equipping Ekusileni for it to become a Covid-19 isolation centre. While we appreciate the funding, we call on more private players to chip in with whatever they have so that we are able to equip our facilities and contain this pandemic,” Dr Moyo said, although he could not reveal the amount that has been set aside for the exercise.
Thorngrove was built in 1941 and caters for Bulawayo, Midlands and the two rural Matabeleland provinces, the North and South while Ekusileni, the brainchild of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo, was built in 2001 and later shut-down in 2004.
“We are not only focusing on Harare and Bulawayo but we have been busy mapping the country’s health facilities so that we at least have Covid-19 isolation centres in all the country’s districts,” said Dr Moyo.
He said citizens should take heed of President Mnangagwa’s declaration on the 21-day lockdown, noting that the only way the country was going to win the war against coronavirus was to be responsible and follow guidance from the Government and health officials.
He said people should also make use of the toll-free numbers not only to get information on the pandemic but also to report any suspected cases of Covid-19 so that necessary measures can be taken.
“People should not take the lockdown lightly because frankly this pandemic is one not to be taken lightly at all, we all have to play our part and ensure that we do not allow this pandemic to spread,” said Dr Moyo.
President Mnangagwa last Friday announced that all citizens would be required to stay at home, except essential movements to seek health services, buy food, medicines, other essentials and critical services.
He said the army would be deployed alongside civilian authorities to ensure strict compliance to the shutdown.
The strict measures, President Mnangagwa said, would be subject to periodical review as dictated by the situation.
The pandemic, first reported in China in December 2019 has spread rapidly throughout the world, forcing many countries to enforce shutdowns in a bid to halt new infections. The virus thrives where people are crowded and already almost 25 000 deaths have been recorded while about 120 000 have successfully recovered.