Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter

EKUSILENI Hospital in Bulawayo has managed to fill 70 percent of the unfrozen 95 posts with officials however, claiming that this falls short of the required figure for them to be able to admit their first 50 patients.

The hospital was opened in 2001 and closed in 2004 because it had outdated equipment.

A couple of months ago, however, there was hope that the institution would be re-opened after the Government identified the centre as one of the institutions that was earmarked to house cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the city.

It was also announced that the hospital will further be transformed into a specialist teaching research hospital under the National University of Science and Technology (Nust). The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) was then tasked with operationalizing the facility.

Speaking yesterday during a tour of the facility by the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Cde Raymore Machingura, the hospital’s acting chief executive officer, Dr Absalom Dube revealed that while Government had unfrozen the 95 posts their requirement was an initial 240 for them to be able to admit their first 50 patients.

“Government unfroze 95 posts for the hospital of which to date we have managed to fill 70 percent of these positions with Nust providing the senior nursing officer. However, our full staff compliment for the first 50 patients stands at 240 and when we eventually operate at full capacity which is 200 beds, we will require 480 staffers, inclusive of 196 nurses.

“We are continuing with our engagements with the employing authority so that when we start the first phase of reopening the hospital, which is the Covid-19 isolation centre, we be in a position to fully service our patients,” said Dr Dube.

He further revealed that they were still waiting for Nssa to avail funding for them to complete renovations at the hospital saying most of the works that were being done were from funding by the private sector.

Deputy Minister Machingura commended the works being done at the hospital saying there was need for the pace to quicken so that the hospital finally becomes functional.

“I am happy with what the private sector is doing to ensure that this hospital eventually opens, honestly when you look at the plans that in place this hospital has huge potential both locally and in terms of medical tourism.

“Once complete we can have people from outside the country coming in to seek specialist treatment here and further, we can also have our specialists doctors being encouraged to give their services here at home as the facility and the equipment will now be available,” said the Deputy Minister.