Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
RENOVATIONS at Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital are 70 percent complete with $46 million needed to finish up the rehabilitation works in nine days.

The renovation works were initially projected to be complete by next Tuesday.

Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital and Ekusileni Medical Centre have been identified as the main isolation centres to handle critically ill Covid-19 patients in Bulawayo.

However, both institutions are not ready to admit patients as renovation works are underway.

In Bulawayo, private owned Mater Dei Hospital is equipped and ready to handle critical patients.

Yesterday, the Bulawayo Provincial Covid-19 taskforce led by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Judith Ncube visited the two hospitals to assess the progress that has been made.

The tour, which started at Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital, included members of the Joint Operations Command.

The team observed that there was relative progress on the ground as council workers, military and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services artisans were complementing each other.

The hospital would handle 40 patients and 26 of them can be placed under oxygen-assisted breathing.

The project manager Mr Patson Mashamba said while they have made relative progress in renovating the isolation ward, financial challenges could hamper progress.

“On the isolation unit alone, we are now about 70 percent complete. What is now outstanding is plastering, brickwork, flooring, epochs, tiling and electrical works. For the isolation alone, we need to be done by Sunday next week. We need about $46 million to finish off the works,” said Mr Mashamba.

Adding on the matter, BCC director of housing and Community Services Mr Dictor Khumalo said council submitted to Treasury the bill of quantities of things that need to be done to get the hospital complete.

“The information relating to the outstanding works has been relayed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Public Works. So, they have that information. Some of the works that need to be done have been outsourced hence we need the money so that the contractor can get to the ground on the basis of being paid their money,” said Mr Khumalo.

At Ekusileni Medical Centre, there were concerns that renovation works were not moving as fast as was expected.

During the tour, How Mine donated two installed electric boreholes with pumps and water reservoirs.

The handing over of the boreholes was delayed by thieves who broke into Ekusileni Medical Centre more than a week ago and stole borehole equipment including a compressor and pumps.

The mining company had to replace the stolen equipment before officially handing the borehole to Ekusileni Medical Centre.

Minister Ncube said she was pleased with renovation works, particularly at Thorngrove Hospital.

She said while renovations are being made at the identified Covid-19 isolation centres, Bulawayo will not fail to handle a critically ill patient even prior to the completion of renovations at the two public medical institutions. “If we can get a single person who falls sick, shehe can be catered for. There are some arrangements that have been made. While we are busy at Thorngrove Hospital and Ekusileni we still have Mater Dei Hospital. Even if it is a private institution, they are part of us. We cannot fail to get in touch with an institution that has put all the systems in place. We are not going to fail as a country, we are not going to fail as Government because we do not want to lose lives,” said Minister Ncube.

She said her office will chip in and ensure rehabilitation works are not stopped at Thorngrove Hospital.

“There is a lot that has been done at Thorngrove, I remember during our last visit we were not happy with what had been done. But today I’m a happy person because you can tell that men are at work. If you look at that extension, roofing has been done, plastering inside has been done. They are left with a few things. They have done us very proud,” she said.

Minister Ncube expressed gratitude to How Mine saying in unity the country can successfully combat Covid-19.

She encouraged residents to comply with lockdown regulations as they are designed to mitigate against the spread of the deadly global pandemic. — @nqotshili.Abo. Namenitatus