Ekusileni undergoes final inspections today

EKUSILENI Medical Centre is today set to undergo a final inspection by medical and health regulatory authorities to determine whether it is ready to open and take in Covid-19 patients as cases continue to surge in the city. 

Ekusileni, a brainchild of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, is one of the five Covid-19-designated isolation and treatment centres here including the Catholic-run Mater Dei, United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH), Old Bartley Memorial Block (BMB) and Thorngrove. 

However, efforts to open the centre since the pandemic hit the country in March last year have hit several brick walls owing to financial constraints. 

The hospital’s acting-chief executive officer, Absolom Dube yesterday confirmed that an inspection team from the Health Professions Authority (HPA) and Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) will be at the hospital today. 

“A lot has been done and we are expecting a team of inspectors today. If we are given a go-ahead, we will reopen with a 15-bed facility. 

“Logistical issues of operations are being sorted; here I mean daily operation needs like drugs, PPE, food for patients, or generally an operational budget and we are good to go. There are certain standards we have to meet hence the inspection,” Dube told Daily News yesterday. 

This comes at a time when the government has already seconded health staff to work at the institution with some administration staff coming from the National Social Security Authority. 

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. 

On Tuesday, Public Service minister Paul Mavima told Cabinet that infrastructural works at Ekusileni were 90 percent complete. 

Initially, the medical institution was meant to open the full capacity of 200 beds but had to go down to 15 general beds capacity owing to financial challenges. 

However, today’s assessment comes at a time when health authorities in the city recently indicated that designated isolation health facilities are overwhelmed by patients, with Thorngrove facing critical oxygen shortages.