Sunday, 8 August 2021


HEALTH officers at 5-Miles isolation centre in Hwange are reportedly driving more than 100km to Victoria Falls to wash blankets used by patients admitted at the facility because there is no washing machine.

Health authorities have appealed to the corporate world in the coal mining town to assist with a laundry machine as the current situation strains resources.

The 5-Miles  was constructed more than a decade ago and was meant to be a district hospital for Hwange but was not completed with  some of its structures being condemned by Government for being substandard.

Located about 10km outside Hwange, one of the buildings was upgraded last year for use as a Covid-19 isolation centre with a capacity of 10 people. As of yesterday there was one patient left after others were discharged.

Chronicle understands that staff at the facility have been driving to Victoria Falls to get blankets and bedding washed.  The facility uses the single ambulance that services public health facilities in Hwange to carry the linen for washing.

They would leave the blankets there return to Hwange before driving again to pick the load, making four trips of about 440km. At most there will be between 10 and 20 blankets and bedding.

The blankets can only be washed at Victoria Falls Hospital as the nearby Lukosi Hospital does not have a washing machine while at St Patrick’s the machine is not working. Hwange Colliery is a private hospital and charges for the washing.

The Hwange Covid-19 taskforce is appealing for help. “We are having a challenges in the management of linen at 5-Miles with the limited resources we have as our sister hospitals refused to do the laundry for us. Currently we are taking linen to Victoria Falls

for washing and it costs us fuel for 400 km as we do two trips for less than 20 blankets. One trip is to leave the load to be washed and another one to collect. Our appeal is that we get a laundry machine and even save the ambulance from wear and tear,” said the taskforce team.

Hwange District Medical Officer Dr Fungayi Musinami-Mvura said the frequency of trips depends on the number of people housed at the facility at any given time and seriousness of their condition as blankets for those with severe conditions or heavily sweating is changed regularly.

“We made the appeal when we started operating at 5-Miles that there is no kitchen as we have to cook off-site at Lukosi and no laundry machine or incinerator and oxygen machines. Hwange Colliery offered to

help with the incinerator while we got a few cylinders for oxygen. Lukosi does not have a washing machine and the St Patrick’s one is broken down, so because patients have been continuously coming we had to find an alternative and they had no option but to take the linen to Victoria Falls,” said Dr Musinami-Mvura.

She said bedding has to be soaked first before washing hence it has to be dropped and collected later. Chronicle


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