By Pamela Shumba
The Government has flighted a tender to find a private investor by next month to run Ekusileni Hospital as a specialist medical institution.
The Government took over the hospital, which was built by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), but has never been operational since its inception 14 years ago.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care last year constituted a committee chaired by Matabeleland North provincial medical director Dr Nyasha Masuka which was tasked to identify a partner.
Dr Masuka yesterday said they had flighted a tender for interested private players to run the hospital as a specialist medical centre.
“We placed an advert on Sunday last week for interested investors to come forward. We’re waiting for responses and once we reach the deadline after 30 days, we’ll start the process of selecting the suitable investor. The selection process should take less than a month.
“Anybody, even local doctors who are interested are free to apply as long they have adequate experience and the capacity to run the hospital in terms of the required funds and resources,” said Dr Masuka.
He said they agreed as a committee that Ekusileni will be a national specialist hospital to avoid duplication of services with existing hospitals in Bulawayo.
“We want Ekusileni to be a centre of excellence. This is what we’re emphasising to our potential investors. We already have general hospitals and we don’t want duplication of services.
“Once the investor has been identified we’ll sign a Memorandum of Understanding to guide us in terms of operations at the hospital,” said Dr Masuka.
He said the committee was already discussing with NSSA to make sure that the hospital is ready for occupation when an investor is identified.
“There’s also some work that needs to be finished off at the hospital. The occupancy of the hospital will depend on how soon this work is completed.
“The work includes finishing off the kitchen, theatre and the incinerator for waste management. The hospital also doesn’t have a mortuary. The occupancy of the hospital will depend on how soon these areas are attended to,” said Dr Masuka.
Last month Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, expressed optimism on the re-opening of the specialist hospital, saying a number of investors had expressed interest in running the medical institution.
She said her ministry and the Ministry of Health and Child Care would soon be negotiating with potential investors in preparation for the opening of the hospital which was the brainchild of the late nationalist and Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.
The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, has previously acknowledged that the Bulawayo community was frustrated that the hospital has not opened its doors to the public for more than a decade.
He said efforts were being made to make sure that the hospital opens its doors to the public.
The hospital was built in 2001 and was subsequently shut down after it was discovered that the acquired equipment, worth millions of dollars, was obsolete. The Chronicle