Senior Health Reporter
The giant Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare’s Southerton has been able to admit significantly more patients every week as the relaxation of internal travel under the Covid-19 lockdown regulations allows more people to travel to seek top-class medical care and as facilities are upgraded.
The upgrade in facilities at the hospital is ongoing and is partly financed by private sector companies, including the newly renovated male surgical ward by Tile and Carpet Centre at a cost of US$20 000 that was opened yesterday.
After the first lockdown announced in March last year, there was little movement by all Zimbabweans, including those in need of health care. Emergency cases could still pass the road blocks but others found it harder to seek medical care for other complaints.
Speaking at the handover of a newly-renovated ward by Tile and Carpet Centre yesterday, Sally Mugabe Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Dr Christopher Pasi said admissions had gone up by up to 60 percent since last year.
“With the first and second lockdown there was restriction of movement and we noticed was that the number of admissions seriously went down because people could not access health care especially from rural areas since intercity transport was curtailed. Even from suburbs that surround us, we noticed that the number of admissions had come down. But after the lockdown measures were released, we have noticed that the number of admissions have gone up significantly and we are admitting as much as 60 to 70 patients per week,” he said.
Sally Mugabe is one of the biggest referral hospitals providing the top level of health care to millions of Zimbabweans. The refurbishment of the ward is also indicative of the support being given by the private sector as public health facilities are upgraded.
Dr Pasi said while the male surgical ward was being renovated, the pressure had increased on other wards as authorities tried to accommodate patients in the available wards.
Tile and Carpet Centre invested US$20 000 towards the refurbishment of the ward which has the capacity to admit 36 patients. The ward caters for male patients in need of operations for chest, intestinal and urinary problems.
“This will go a long way in making sure that quality of care provided for patients is to up to the expected standard. One of the areas that Government is emphasising on is the issue of quality and this includes customer satisfaction. It also looks at reducing issues like hospital acquired morbidity and infections so the way this ward was renovated will assist us to achieve these goals that are part of our strategic plan,” he said. Tile and Carpet centre group managing director Mr Stan Mushore said the renovation of the ward was the private sector’s way of giving back to the communities and helping Government to achieve universal access to health for all.
“When Covid-19 was at its peak, we thought it was prudent for us to extend a hand to this hospital as part of the programmes that we do. Work started after we got the go ahead from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and this is our ward now we will continue maintaining it and making sure it retains this standard,” he said. The renovations included painting of the whole ward, tiling of the floors, bathroom repairs as well as replacement or provision of fittings.