THE Catholic Church-run Mater Dei Hospital is reopening as a COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre and will be Bulawayo’s only fullyequipped institution to handle coronavirus patients.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Medical Aid Society of Southern Africa (Masca) has been at the forefront of a private sector-led initiative to capacitate the health institution to handle coronavirus patients after revelations that the city had no fully-equipped the facility.
Government identified Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and Ekusileni Medical Centre as COVID-19-handling facilities, but the two institutions have proven to be ill equipped.
Ekusileni chief executive Absalom Dube on Wednesday said the institution is far from being ready to open its doors with “more work needed to be done as the hospital was not originally meant for infectious diseases”.
After taking delivery of 200 theatre scrub suits from Paramount/Archer Clothing destined for Mater Dei on Wednesday, Masca CEO Doug Bramsen said: “We will be opening the centre (COVID-19 isolation and treatment
wing) in a few days.”
The donation followed an earlier appeal by Bramsen for equipment to ensure the facility was opened to cater for COVID-19 patients.
“Given the stringent health requirements, the hospital believes it will have to turn over surgical and nursing scrubs at a greater rate than usual and that detergents used are likely to impose a heavier wear and tear on the fabrics. We are looking for suitable cotton fabrics that they can make into the required uniforms,” Bramsen, who is also the Mater Dei board chairperson, said.
He said the “appeal was responded to by the Bulawayo communities in magnificent form”.
On March 27, Masca also appealed for fiscal support such as 100% tax deduction for all donations to speed up renovations at Mater Dei and capacitation of the institution to handle COVID-19 cases.
Bulawayo currently has 12 confirmed COVID-19 cases out of the 37 reported across the country. However, the city has stopped COVID-19 testing due to lack of consumables at a time there is a backlog of over 700 cases.