By Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu
The Government has started refurbishing burnt and dilapidated doctors’ residences at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo.
Stakeholders that include Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) are involved in the project, which is expected to be completed in the next 80 days.
The Government pledged $287 million towards the reconstruction of three doctors’ quarters that were burnt down.
On May 27 this year, 41 doctors were forced to escape through a window when fire gutted the building and reduced to ashes all their belongings including household property, certificates, food and clothes.
In 2018, another Mpilo doctors’ residence was gutted by fire and property worth US$300 000 was lost and the following year in June, a doctor slept, leaving his heater on, which resulted in another fire which destroyed another doctors’ hostel.
All three buildings were said to have gone for too long without consistent maintenance which could have caused the fire incidents.
The fourth building which is also under renovation is the nurses’ hostel which Government officials declared unsafe for habitation.
The 1 000-bed public hospital services Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Matabeleland North and South, Midlands and Masvingo provinces.
Mpilo acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said $12 million of the pledged funds had already been used to purchase building material and safety clothing for workers.
He said the army and prisons were helping with skills. “We’re making tremendous progress. We are refurbishing the old building which was burnt in 2018. We are also refurbishing the nurses’ home and the doctors’ residence which was burnt recently,” said Prof Ngwenya.
“We have procured the necessary protective clothing and the required tools while architects have completed work on the new-look accommodation facilities. Instead of single rooms, affected health care workers will have ensuites once the project is completed.”
Prof Ngwenya said the procured building material was already at Mpilo and workers had started working on renovations.
“We are still procuring material which includes trusses, roofing sheets, cement among other things and most of the material has since been delivered. Our multi sectoral partners which include the army and prison services are working very hard and are on track,” he said.
“I am confident that we will finish on time as we projected that everything should be done in the next 80 days. We have spent around $12 million buying all we have now and everything is on track,” he said.
Prof Ngwenya said the hospital management and staff were grateful to the Government’s timely intervention.
Meanwhile, Prof Ngwenya said Covid-19 infections are increasing in communities due to complacency by members of the public.
“People are behaving in a complacent manner which is dangerous as we might soon be overwhelmed by the rising cases and deaths.
Honestly, as a nation we are moving into a major catastrophe and people must just accept that Covid-19 is real and prevalent in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Prof Ngwenya said people should continue wearing masks, wash hands, sanitise and maintain social distancing. The Chronicle