By Nqobile Tshili
Thieves broke into the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and stole seven plasma television sets that were mounted at the health facility’s private ward.
The thieves are said to have taken advantage of the absence of security guards manning the premises to raid the ward.
The theft is said to have occurred between Friday and Tuesday morning and was discovered on Tuesday by hospital authorities.
The hospital has a few patients after UBH was designated as Covid-19 centre while non-Covid-19 patients were transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital.
The move was done to minimise the risk of non-Covid-19 patients from contracting the virus if they mixed with positive ones.
UBH is serving a temporal Covid-19 treatment centre while renovations at Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital, Ekusileni Medical Centre and Richard Morris at UBH are underway.
UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Narcissus Dzvanga said investigations into the theft were underway.
“I don’t have the list of the items that were stolen but I know it consists mainly of television sets and decoders that were in the wards. But investigations are underway to ascertain how the theft occurred,” said Dr Dzvanga.
He said the theft occurred while security guards had not reported for duty.
“There are some shortcomings that we only discovered when the things were stolen. We do have security guards but they were no longer coming to work every day as they said they did not have transport money.
They said they required $54 to travel from their homes to work every day. But the information about their challenges only came to my attention when the theft had occurred. They had not approached my office to explain their challenges. It’s only now that we got to know of the challenges that they did not report for duty,” he said.
Dr Dzvanga said only a few patients were admitted to UBH following the transfer of patients to Mpilo Central Hospital.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said seven, 32-inch plasma television sets were stolen.
“Investigations are ongoing. The television sets were stolen at the UBH private ward. But of concern is that this crime was discovered after several days had passed since it had been committed. The last person to see the television sets saw them on August 8 (Friday) at 9.30AM and the theft was discovered on August 11 (Tuesday). This was a long time for premises to be left unchecked. We appeal to organisations to hire security guards to guard their premises,” said Insp Ncube.
“The total value of the stolen property is US$900 and we are appealing for anyone with information that can result in the arrest of the thieves to come forward or report to their nearest police station.”
UBH becomes the second medical institution to be raided by thieves in the city during lockdown period after a compressor and borehole equipment were stolen from Ekusileni Medical Centre in May. The Chronicle