Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu Bulawayo Bureau
WORK on Lupane Provincial Hospital — the first-ever State-owned public referral hospital in Matabeleland North — has gained pace as the Government steps up efforts to meet the deadline of completing the 250-bed state-of-the-art hospital by end of this year.
The hospital is expected to ease pressure on Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals which also serve the southern region of the country. Matabeleland North has relied a lot on mission hospitals and private mine facilities, with Lupane being the first major Government hospital.
The hospital remains among the Second Republic’s top priorities and tremendous progress continues to be reported.
It is among the visible developments that the Government has undertaken to upgrade previously marginalised areas in line with President Mnangagwa’s development agenda of leaving no one and no place behind in terms of access to quality healthcare services.
Leaving no one and no place behind has become synonymous with the leadership of President Mnangagwa, who has made it a buzz-phrase that has found resonance among the people in both rural and urban areas.
The hospital is one of the Government projects set for the province in line with Vision 2030. It is the Second Republic’s vision to construct critical infrastructure countrywide to reduce the distance travelled by citizens to access services, one of the tenets of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Upon completion, there will be training of health specialists at the hospital, a process that will result in the availability of top-notch health services locally. To underline the work that has been done at the hospital, it will also be the first health institution in the country to accommodate all its health workers on site.
Provincial capital Lupane, the home of the university as well, is a very new urban centre and thus requires accommodation to be built as new facilities are added.
Since 1999 when Lupane was made the Matabeleland North provincial capital, the construction of the hospital has been moving at a snail’s pace, but that has since changed following the advent of the Second Republic.
The completion of the giant health institution will bring relief to the largely rural province as patients had to rely on the Catholic St Luke’s Hospital and Bulawayo’s Mpilo Central Hospital for specialist services.
Treasury allocated $33 billion for the construction of hospitals, with Lupane Provincial Hospital being one of the key projects set for completion this year.
According to the latest report, construction of the pharmacy, central stores, junior staff housing, administration block, eye clinic, outpatients’ department and casualty is now 68 percent complete.
“Roofing, internal plastering, internal wall rhino-set is now complete at the pharmacy and central stores. Outstanding work in the building includes the wiring of ducts, electrical fittings, civil engineering, and installation of mechanical fittings and flooring. The footing, sub-superstructure brickwork on the footing, and concrete slab pouring is now 100 percent complete for the dental and eye clinic,” read the statement.
“Roofing and internal plastering for the out patients and casualty departments are also 100 percent complete while electrical tubing, brandering, and wiring are in progress. Outstanding work also includes ceiling installation and flooring.”
Lupane Provincial Hospital will also have a staff residence, which is more than 70 percent complete.
Our Bulawayo Bureau visited the site and observed that the waiting shed is at slab level while the substation building is at roofing level.
In an interview, the Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said upon completion, the hospital will revolutionise the health services sector in the province.
He said it will also cater to other provinces as there are plans to make it a specialist hospital.
“We are delighted to witness tremendous progress in the construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital, which is moving at a lightning speed just as promised by the Government under the leadership of President Mnangagwa. There is massive progress and I have no doubt that soon it will open its doors to members of the public from Matabeleland North and other provinces,” said Minister Moyo.
“We applaud the Government for the job well done in remembering the people of Matabeleland North and soon we will have something to take pride in. We cannot wait for its construction to be completed so that we can access quality healthcare services from Lupane.”
Since 2018, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has made significant achievements in the development of health infrastructure ranging from the construction of new health facilities to the refurbishment of existing infrastructure.
More than 47 clinics and hospitals have been built since 2018 under the Second Republic with many more upgraded and repaired, as the Second Republic goes into overdrive to improve the health sector. A total of 1 074 health facilities were solarised, and 201 health facilities benefit from the borehole water project.
The upgrades in the health system are part of the Government’s quest to ensure local health standards match best international practice.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care was also streamlined to add other specialised hospitals as a way of ensuring best international practice.