Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
TWO telecommunications giants NetOne and TelOne have refurbished a 35-bed ward at Mpilo Central Hospital as part of the $10 million project to help the Government fight Covid-19 at public institutions.

The $10 million was set aside last April by the two companies to refurbish Mpilo, Beatrice Infectious Disease Hospital and Sally Mugabe Hospital.

The ward B5 investment is said to be the biggest ever at Mpilo and will enable members of the public to access state-of-the-art monitors which will enable medical personnel to detect patients’ blood pressure, temperature and pulse from the same machine which is quicker than the traditional method of using different types of equipment.

Part of the refurbishment also include new bedding and linen. Now with grey and white walls and new curtains, B5 which is mainly for men, will be reserved for Covid-19 patients if the need arises.

The two companies also replaced all sinks, taps, bath tubs and tiled the floors.

The ward also has colourful nurse stations, bed numbers and room labels made from stickers with TelOne and NetOne logos.

B5 ward is now decorated with huge frames with NetOne and TelOne colours which include black, orange, blue and white.

Before the refurbishment, the ward which is part of the 10 other wards within the main hospital built in 1958, had cracked floors, old bath tubs, sinks and taps which were difficult to repair due to resource challenges.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the fully equipped and refurbished Ward B5 yesterday, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said it was imperative for corporates to assist the Government by mobilising resources towards mitigation and containment in times of crisis.

He said the ministry and companies under its purview had accelerated digital innovations that seek to promote telecommuting or remote working.

In a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy Cde Dingumuzi Phuti, Minister Muswere said he was committed to increasing support towards the fight against Covid-19 and other healthcare challenges.

“This commitment was pledged to his Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, at State House in April this year,” said Minister Muswere.

“A fortnight ago we were at Sally Mugabe Hospital witnessing the fantastic work by NetOne and TelOne, and today I am excited to be unveiling a newly refurbished 35-bed Ward B5 here at Mpilo Hospital.”

Our economic recovery as a nation, he added, will be leveraged on rebuilding through smart technologies premised on ICTs.

The two companies are working on drilling six boreholes for Mpilo, Sally Mugabe Hospital and Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital set to reduce the number of people contracting Covid-19.

Speaking during the same handover, deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro called on other corporates to chip in and help the Government improve public health institutions.

“Today as we accept the refurbished Ward B5, the new furniture and equipment together with the drilled borehole and water tanks provided, I would also want to acknowledge the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which was donated earlier in May. I am aware all this is part of your Covid-19 response package which you announced through a symbolic ZWL$10-million cheque handover to His Excellency, President Mnangagwa,” he said.

According to Dr Mangwiro, Covid-19 impact in terms of serious illnesses and morbidity had been relatively low but preparations to respond and manage the pandemic had not been easy for the country.

“While they announced the intervention to be pegged at ZWL$10 million, I know the amount has already almost doubled due to inflation with costs for Mpilo Hospital projects alone at ZWL$5,2 million. Indeed, the sincerity of both companies to see the fullness of this project is evident as you continued with your works despite the increase in the budget.”

Dr Mangwiro said the refurbished ward will also come in handy in the fight against Covid-19 which has claimed 225 lives so far and other prevalent diseases in Zimbabwe.

“While faced with this, we also have other diseases like cancer, malaria, HIV-Aids which remain alive and need management by the same hospitals. Maternal and paediatric health are also areas that remain key on our health radar. It is therefore delighting to note the ward refurbishment and borehole drilling initiatives will live beyond the challenges of the moment,” he said.

NetOne chief executive officer Ms Chipo Jaisson said it was the company’s mission to transform lives and develop communities by providing support towards improving the health and well being of Zimbabweans.

“We understand that the current state of our public health care sector impacts on the ability and level of preparedness to deal with Covid-19. We are confident that the newly refurbished and modernised ward being unveiled today will make our public health facilities more appealing and allow them to accommodate more patients in a clean and ecstatic environment as well as provide affordable health care to the general populace that may not be able to access private health care,” said Ms Jaisson.

She said NetOne’s One-health initiative is linked to the sustainable development goal (SDG) plan which seeks to ensure healthy lives by providing water and sanitation for all.

TelOne managing director Mrs Chipo Mtasa said the partnership with NetOne has seen the telecommunication companies bring joy to many vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe.

“We also have the Covid-19 rural health facilities programme running which has reached rural clinics in 13 districts with Covid-19 response packages including PPEs for frontline staff and other materials. Just last week we were in Matopo and Ndolwane where such donations were made,” said Mrs Mtasa.

“I call on other corporates to consider partnering the Ministry of Health and Child Care so that we can all play our part in transforming the country’s health sector.”