Bulawayo Declares That It Is Not Ready To Deal With Coronavirus Patients
21 March 2020
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Thorngroove hospital

State Media|Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has said it has not received all the requisite equipment to adequately deal with Covid-19 cases that may arise in the southern parts of the country.

The local authority runs Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital which should cater for patients in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, Midlands and Masvingo.

BCC, however, says it still does not have satisfactory resources to effectively attend to Covid-19 cases despite making communications with the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Zimbabwe is still fortunate that it has not recorded any Covid-19 cases, despite the infectious virus battering most countries globally.

More than 250 000 people have been infected by the virus worldwide while 10 544 others have succumbed to the disease.

In a press briefing yesterday, BCC Health Services Department deputy director and coordinator in charge of Covid-19 rapid response preparedness, Dr Khulamuzi Nyathi, said with cases swelling in the neighbouring South Africa there is a need for Bulawayo to be more prepared to deal with any emerging cases.

He said the local authority had sent a bill of quantities to the Ministry of Health and Child Care on materials needed for council to adequately prepare to handle cases but this has not been delivered.

“We need some waste management practices, we need an incinerator, we need holding tanks, we need personal protective equipment. One of the things that we really need even the World Health Organisation director general (Dr Tedros Adhanom) has said is the ability to tests cases locally.

“We need a way in which we can test specimens on the same day,” he said.

At the moment any tests for suspected coronavirus cases are done in Harare.

In an interview, Health and Child Care Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva said Government has not neglected Bulawayo.

She said she was not aware of the specific items that council needed but Government was disbursing all the priority equipment countrywide.

“Your (BCC) list could be so long and you might get a few of those but you will get most priority things that you might want to use for an emergency. We will chase up and find out what exactly they haven’t gotten. Is it among the priority things that we are saying every person should get first while other things will follow?” said Dr Mahomva.

She said the same approach will be used in renovating Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital, as Government and its partners cannot spread across limited resources at one go.

China has renovated the Wilkins Hospital in Harare and is expected to move on to Bulawayo.