Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
BULAWAYO’s third Covid-19 isolation treatment centre at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) which is undergoing renovations, is expected to be ready to admit patients soon.

Government has already released $42 million to fund renovation works which are now 60 percent complete.

The isolation treatment centre which is at the Old Bartely Memorial Block, will complement the city’s two other isolation treatment centres.

Bulawayo had by last Sunday recorded 73 Covid-19 cases and three deaths.

The city is admitting its Covid-19 patients at the council run Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and most of these are mild cases.

Ekusileni Medical Centre and UBH isolation centre are being equipped and upgraded to handle serious Covid-19 cases.

Acting Health and Child Care Minister Professor Amon Murwira recently said Ekusileni which is also undergoing renovations, will soon admit patients.

Updating the visiting joint Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, acting UBH chief executive officer Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said the Covid-19 centre which had a capacity of 100 beds, will expand to 150 when renovations are complete.

“We are working on renovations that will increase the centre’s capacity from 100 beds to 150 so that we are able to admit more patients,” he said.

Dr Dzvanga said the hospital had already trained bout 200 nurses who will work at the isolation centre.

“We are privileged to host our Parliamentarians and they are looking at the ongoing construction work for the unit that will house Covid-19 patients.

“The unit will be divided in two, the East Wing which will have the theatres, intensive care unit and the West Wing for stable patients who will be ready for discharge,” said Dr Dzvanga.

He said the renovation works were about 60 percent complete and work was expected to be complete by the end of this month after which installation of equipment will start.

“This centre was previously home for the elderly and we had new beds which we will use for Covid-19 while we wait for other special beds,” said Dr Dzvanga.

He said 14 of the beds will be for intensive care unit and 18 for high dependency section.

“Government has released the required money and the workers involved in the project are working even on weekends to try and meet the deadline,” said Dr Dzvanga.

The acting chair of the committees Chief Ngungumbane said both committees were happy with work done so far.

“We are here to assess the hospital’s state of preparedness to receive Covid-19 patients and we are happy that the renovation works are almost complete.

“The department of public works has been working hard to ensure the buildings meet the required standards.

“We have toured and we have been given time frames. I must say we are happy with what we have seen,” said Chief Ngungumbane.

He said the challenge was to ensure the targets for completing work that had been set are met.

“We want this hospital to start admitting Covid-19 patients as soon as yesterday,” said the Chief.

He said the joint committees were also visiting border towns this week which have been hard hit by Covid-19.

“We will be visiting Plumtree and Beitbridge to assess the state of preparedness in handling returnees and what security measures have been put in place.

“We want to find out what measures have been put in place by security agents to curtail smuggling of goods and the illegal crossing of people who are potential Covid-19 carriers,” he said. — @thamamoe.