Monday 27 July 2020


MORE than 100 Covid-19 patients have been admitted to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) following a decision to use the hospital as a temporary Covid-19 hospital pending the completion of renovations at the designated Covid-19 health institutions.

The designated institutions are Ekusileni Medical Centre, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and Old Bartley Memorial Block (BMB) within UBH that are all undergoing renovations.

Following the decision to use UBH as a temporary Covid-19 hospital, patients with other ailments are now being served by Mpilo Central Hospital.

The development is aimed at preventing mixing Covid-19 patients and those that are Covid-19 free. 

Mpilo and UBH are the main public hospitals catering for the southern region which covers Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South and Bulawayo provinces.

A total of 102 Covid-19 patients had been admitted to UBH by yesterday and one of the patients had absconded from a quarantine facility.

Over the weekend, Bulawayo had 532 Covid-19 active cases according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Acting UBH chief executive officer Dr Narcacius Dzvanga confirmed that the hospital had started admitting Covid-19 patients. 

“We have a total of 102 patients including four nursing mothers and one abscondee at the moment,” said Dr Dzvanga.

He said other patients at the hospital who are supposed to be transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital under the new arrangement, were awaiting their Covid-19 test results.

“This is work in progress and we are yet to send our patients to Mpilo as we are waiting for their Covid-19 results. There is no specialised equipment needed as yet for these Covid-19 patients other than adequate and consistent supply and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), staff education and training on Covid-19,” said Dr Dzvanga.

He said the whole exercise to separate patients had been delayed due to logistical problems including access to Bulawayo City Council ambulances to transport those who are negative and positive separately.

Dr Dzvanga urged members of the public to take heed of warnings to avoid local transmissions.

“Members of the public should be careful and stay away from public places, practise hygiene and wear masks all the time so that hospitals are not overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases,” said Dr Dzvanga. 

Acting Mpilo chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said Covid-19 patients that were at Mpilo had been moved to UBH.

He said by Saturday afternoon, all Covid-19 patients had been moved to UBH and that patients from around the region who were UBH referrals had started accessing treatment at Mpilo.

“By Saturday afternoon we had taken all the eight Covid-19 patients to UBH and we are now attending to all UBH referrals from all over the southern region that are Covid-19 free,” he said.

Prof Ngwenya said a person who is Covid-19 positive by the time he is identified, would have infected three or more people hence the need for members of the public to avoid exposure to the virus.

He said all people were potential Covid-19 carriers so nobody should be assumed clean until he or she is tested.

“Actually, one person can infect thousands of people so until we have tested everyone at one go, it’s not possible to say how many people have the virus. Zimbabwe has not done mass testing and as such the incidence or prevalence of this virus in the community is unknown,” said Prof Ngwenya.

He said with the global shortage of test kits, it would be optimistic to think everyone will be tested soon.

Last week, Cabinet resolved that an agreement be signed between Government and Mater Dei Hospital for the health institution to admit critical Covid-19 patients for free. Chronicle


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