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Bus accident exposes Mutare hospital’s lack of preparedness

By Ray Bande

Mutare Provincial Hospital was overwhelmed by the number of patients taken to the referral institution after Saturday’s bus accident which occurred at the 218-kilometre peg along the Harare-Mutare highway.

Intertoll workers clear the accident scene where a General Bande bus and a haulage truck collided along the Mutare-Harare Road on Saturday
Intertoll workers clear the accident scene where a General Bande bus and a haulage truck collided along the Mutare-Harare Road on Saturday

The death toll has risen to 16.

Fourteen people died on the spot when a General Bande bus collided with a haulage truck at around 5pm, while two more died on admission to the hospital.

Out of the 40 injured and taken to the hospital, 24 were still admitted by yesterday, with one of them in the Intensive Care Unit.

A Mutare Provincial Hospital sister-in-charge (in green) and a nurse attend to a victim of the accident yesterday. — Pictures :Tinai Nyadzayo
A Mutare Provincial Hospital sister-in-charge (in green) and a nurse attend to a victim of the accident yesterday. — Pictures :Tinai Nyadzayo

In her presentation to stakeholders that included Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, provincial Joint Operations Committee, Civil Protection Unit members and the media, Mutare Provincial Hospital representative Sister Fortunate Sigauke said the hospital was overwhelmed, noting challenges faced in the X-ray department.

“I received a phone call informing me that there had been a bus disaster,” she said.

“There was a quick response from our medical staff, nurses and doctors. The delay was in the X-ray department because of shortage of manpower. We had challenges in the X-ray department where the machine was not sufficiently equipped to cater for the patients we had at that particular moment.

“The first casualties came in with well-wishers. The ambulance service providers then chipped in. We are really thankful to those who chipped in.”

Dr Gwaradzimba bemoaned the existence of one X-ray machine at the hospital.

“I am concerned about the state of preparedness,” she said. “I am told that the response was not as quick as the injured persons expected, our ambulances, and in terms of all the help that was rendered.

“We need to do more as a nation. We only have one person in the ICU and we pray that the number of those that are deceased remains at 16.

“I think we cannot rely on just one X-ray machine for such a big provincial referral hospital. Right now we have people with multiple fractures.

“Probably what we await at the moment is the pronouncement by His Excellency on the state of disaster which I believe the accident already qualifies for that because we have 16 people who died.”

Dr Gwaradzimba said they will contact the Mozambican Consulate in Mutare to assist in linking up relatives of a Mozambican national who was injured in the accident.

Econet, through its Community Social Responsibility anchor partner Higher Life Foundation, provided food for the bereaved during funeral services and pledged further assistance in medication for the injured.

Higher Life Foundation will provide school fees for children orphaned as a result of the accident.

Dr Gwaradzimba thanked Higher Life Foundation for the assistance. The Herald

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