Mukudzei Chingwere in Bulawayo
THE Government wants to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 by upgrading health facilities across the country, President Mnangagwa has said.
The President was speaking at the official opening of two health facilities in Bulawayo, a paediatric orthopaedic hospital and a Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre.
Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 response improved the quality of the country’s healthcare system and people will benefit beyond the pandemic, following several infrastructural development initiatives at hospitals as well as the recruitment and training of more health personnel.
President Mnangagwa declared the pandemic a state of disaster from the outset leading to improved Government resource allocation for the health sector as well as marshalling the private sector to come on board and help the Government to boost health care delivery.
Yesterday, the opening of the two facilities was also a culmination of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
President Mnangagwa yesterday said the relationship with the private sector as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) had culminated in the coming to life of the two health facilities.
“It is my honour and privilege to address you at this occasion as we witness the commissioning of this state of the art paediatric orthopaedic centre and the Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre, here at the United Bulawayo Hospitals.
“This achievement is a testimony of the fact that the bold and strategic decisions taken by the Second Republic to stabilise, restructure and reform the public health sector in our country are yielding fruit,” said the President .
“Our commitment to complete and deliver high impact projects which prioritise the needs of the people are ongoing with greater urgency.
“This is in view of the need to put in place critical building blocks towards achieving the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1).”
He said his Government would leave no stone unturned in its quest to ensure that all the people in all parts of the country enjoyed a better quality of life.
President Mnangagwa said sustainable development was leaving no one behind and was a collective process which involved all stakeholders and never a preserve of just Government.
“In this spirit, the paediatric orthopaedic centre we are commissioning today is the first of its kind at a national public hospital.
“It is a result of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Ministry of Healthy and Child Care, Zimbabwe Orthopaedic Trust and Cure international,” he said.
The children’s hospital has also brought specialists for skills development and the President was happy with the sustainable model that will equip local health personnel with key expertise.
“The decision by the Zimbabwe Orthopaedic Trust to provide capacity building and training in orthopaedics to staff here at United Bulawayo Hospitals speaks to my administration’s drive to fill the manpower skills gap through specialised education and training.
“I exhort health services staff to maximise the opportunities from this initiative to acquire broader knowledge and competences,” he said.
Zimbabwe has won international plaudits for the way it has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Mnangagwa also encouraged healthcare workers to exhibit professional standards of serving the people.
“I also have the honour to officially open the United Bulawayo Hospitals Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre.
“This intervention is a culmination of my Government’s fight against the spread of Covid-19 through ensuring the availability of sound health care infrastructure as well as improved treatment and care services,” he said.
“I commend the Arundel Sakunda Group for complementing Government efforts towards the establishment of this strategic Covid-19 isolation and treatment facility.
“The kind gesture and act of good corporate citizenship is worth emulating. I thus invite other private sector entities to continue to utilise the health sector coordinated framework as we build sustainable institutions and systems for the post Covid-19 era.”
The President urged the private sector to conduct business with utmost transparency, warning that the Government would not brook corruption of any kind.
Vice President and Minister of Health Dr Constantino Chiwenga commended the cordial relationship existing between his ministry and private sector partners which culminated in the successful implementation of the PPPs.
He said the achievement of these projects was historic and was set to transform the face of the public health system which was recently boosted by the release of $100 million for Covid-19 vaccines.
“The area of public health is one of the key deliverables of the health sector. There has been quite a number of initiatives put in place to prevent or mitigate the escalation of dangers to human health in this context,” he said.
VP Chiwenga noted some of the various projects done by the Government which had a positive mark on the country’s public health system.
These included road rehabilitation to reduce accidents, dealing with illegal settlements that compromised sewer reticulation systems and improved food security.
“Having pointed some of the interventions that promote public health you will agree with me that the second republic under the stewardship of our guest of honour has scored some notable milestones in that regard,” said VP Chiwenga.
Executive director of the children’s hospital Mr Jonathan Simpson said their services were free for children up to 18 years and they were not discriminating against anyone on grounds of financial capacity.
“As a father, I am sure you will agree with me that there is nothing more important than our children and their future. In Zimbabwe, there are thousands of children with disabilities that can be treated which is why the United Bulawayo Hospitals and the Zimbabwe Orthopaedic Trust jointly developed and signed a Public/Private Partnership concession.”
He said this was the beginning of a fruitful relationship that would benefit the children of Zimbabwe for years to come.
At full capacity, the hospital hopes to do over 2 000 procedures a year on top of the current capacity targeting 500.
“With your Excellency’s blessing, we will be able to develop our vision to expand this facility to its fullest potential. We already have solid plans to build another 40-bed ward, a training facility and laboratory, whilst also upgrading our support services such as laundry and storage.
“We have also taken deliberate moves to partner with existing structures where possible. For example, instead of building our own orthopaedic workshop, we have purposefully chosen to partner with the Bulawayo Orthopaedic Centre at UBH to produce the essential orthotics we need,” said Mr Simpson.