The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
EKUSILENI hospital on today (Tuesday) admitted its first two patients, as the hospital finally opened its doors to the public.
The opening of the hospital, which the government declared as a national Covid-19 centre, will ease the pressure on other isolation centres in the city which were fast running out of bed space.
Confirming the hospital’s reopening, Bulawayo acting provincial medical director, Dr Welcome Mlilo said this was welcome move to the city’s Covid-19 response.
He said the hospital will be opened in phases, with an initial 15-25 patients.
“The operationalization of the facility is in line with the government vision as recently communicated in the last cabinet statement.
“The facility is a 250 bedded hospital but is opening in a phased manner. We are initially starting off with 15-25 beds, then will step that up to 50, then 100 and then to full capacity,” said Dr Mlilo.
Added Dr Mlilo: “This is a milestone in terms of Covid-19 case management in the province and potentially in the entire Southern region and the country.”
Ekusileni was closed more than 15 years ago when its equipment was declared obsolete. The hospital, a brainchild of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo, has experienced a number of false starts and numerous efforts to reopen it have failed.
Its premises are owned by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) and it was opened in 2000 before it closed in 2001.
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 that was earmarked to house cases of the Covid-19 in the city.