Zimbabwe: “the health establishments are now impressive”
Healthcare professionals say Zimbabwe’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has improved health facility facilities, improving the quality of healthcare and people will benefit in the long run.
President Mnangagwa declared the pandemic a state of disaster from the start, which led to better allocation of government resources to the health sector, as well as mobilizing the private sector to engage and helps the government stimulate the delivery of health care.
Following the infrastructural developments, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Jasper Chimedza, said they were determined to improve the quality of health services in the country.
“The infrastructural developments made to strengthen our response to Covid-19 in various health facilities will benefit people beyond the pandemic,” he said.
“The government is committed to improving the health system, and after improving the infrastructure, we now aim to improve the quality of health care.
“We aim for continuous improvement. The bar should not be low, all institutions should improve their services.”
In separate interviews, the Provincial Medical Directors (PMDs) of the Midlands, Matabeleland North and Masvingo said the investments made so far would improve the healthcare system.
“St Luke’s (in Lupane) is the designated provincial hospital at the moment,” said Dr Munekayi Padingani, PMD of Matabeleland North.
“But we are building a new hospital that could be completed maybe by the end of the year, and that will be the new provincial hospital.”
Midlands PMD, Dr Reginald Mhene said: “The government has devoted more resources to improving infrastructure which has seen the establishment of intensive care units (ICUs) in various institutions, as well as improved admission facilities. . “
Although they still need more staff, Dr Amadeus Shamhu of Masvingo PMD said they have filled all the vacancies in the province and have also created more.
“Initially, we did not have health personnel at the Sango border post, but with Covid-19, we were forced to deploy them at the port of entry,” he said.
“However, the challenge now is to house our team there, and we are even calling on the corporate world to help us.”
With government funding and support from Anglo-American, Gweru Provincial Hospital (GPH) has benefited from rapid infrastructure development in recent years.
These include the renovation of the emergency department worth over US $ 1.1 million, the laundry service to improve hygiene worth over US $ 55,000, infrastructure and equipment from the Covid-19 intensive care unit worth R10 million, US $ 350,000 and US $ 4 million.
Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr Constantino Chiwenga has publicly stated that Zimbabwe will need sustained investment in its national health system as it considers commercializing the sector.
Human resources staff has also been strengthened at the GPH and now includes specialists in areas such as obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, orthopedics, mental health, anesthesia, ophthalmology, psychiatry , pediatrics and medicine.
The institution’s medical director, Dr Fabian Mashingaidze, presented some state-of-the-art equipment at the hospital, which now also trains specialist doctors and general practitioners.
“Gweru Hospital has managed to expand tertiary or specialist services over the past few years as we now have specialists in most of the specialties you can think of,” he said.
“We are able to perform different operations and medical procedures in the specialties that we have. We also run a kidney unit, this has helped our patients with kidney failure, they no longer need to travel to Harare for Services.
“We recently had our first free total hip replacement at this hospital, the first at any provincial hospital.
With government support, most services like dialysis are offered free of charge.
The decentralization of these clinical acts is part of the Government’s vision of universal health coverage and leaving no one behind.
The authorities are clear that they want to reduce medical tourism and patient exports by bringing health procedures to their localities.
This month, GPH opened a stroke unit specializing in the treatment and rehabilitation of stroke patients.
The head of the department, Dr Patience Maramba, said it will be a dedicated stroke unit and looks forward to positive patient outcomes.
GPH is a teaching hospital as a result of their partnership between Midlands State University Medical School and United Bulawayo Hospital for the education of senior resident physicians and junior resident physicians.
This is in addition to the nurses and midwives of environmental health practitioners they were already training.
Masvingo General Hospital has also expanded its tertiary facilities and in August will recruit its first group of medical students in collaboration with the University of Great Zimbabwe.
Specialist surgeon and medical superintendent of the institution, Mr. Noel Zulu confirmed the incoming program which should start this year and which will aim to train specialists.
“Thanks to our partnership with Great Zimbabwe University, we are now a teaching hospital and there is a need for more experienced doctors and specialists before the start,” he said.
“I am happy to say that the first group will be signing up in August of this year.”
At the district level, they have also improved facilities with radiology services now available at Chiredzi General Hospital.
In Matabeleland South, Gwanda, the government, with support from Blanket Mine, has built a new 22-bed Covid-19 isolation treatment center next to the Phakama clinic.
“We opened the facility on February 11 last month and treated two patients who were discharged from the hospital,” said facility manager and matron Gertrude Buhali.
“Of the 22 beds, 8 are intensive care unit (ICU) beds, all equipped with ventilators and all the necessary equipment for an intensive care bed,” she said. “The rooms are two each with 11 beds, the other a man and a woman.”
In Plumtree, a dilapidated and disused tuberculosis treatment center has been transformed into a full-fledged Covid-19 center with admission facilities.
Dr Nobert Singine, head of maternal, newborn and child health for the province of South Matabeleland, said improved facilities would help professionals with their clinical work.
Bulawayo City Health Director Dr Edwin Sibanda said with government support they renovated a cholera ward and designated another, hitherto unused, infectious disease hospital location. of Thorngrove, to be a cholera hall.