BY RICHARD MUPONDE
The United Bulawayo Hospitals’ (UBH) COVID-19 centre, which was under renovations for the past three months, has one of its wings completed and has admitted its first 16 patients who are on treatment for the disease.
Old Bartley Memorial Block (BMB) located within UBH, which housed elderly patients before it was closed for renovations, was now one of the designated institutions to admit COVID-19 patients from Bulawayo.
The block will, at any given time, admit 100 COVID-19 patients referred from other hospitals in Matabeleland.
In an interview yesterday, UBH chief executive officer, Narcisus Dzvanga confirmed that the centre was open for COVID-19 patients, but said renovations were yet to be completed.
“As promised, this is just to inform you that all the patients afflicted with COVID-19 have all been moved to the new look BMB West wing,” Dzvanga said.
“The East Wing remains tightly sealed off to allow for completion of the remaining construction works.
“We are extremely delighted that the unit has eventually become functional, albeit, partially so.
“All the patients were relocated on Tuesday.”
He said the hospital did not have facilities for mechanical ventilations as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) were not yet equipped.
“We currently have 16 patients which include seven males and nine females.
“For a place to be called an ICU, it just needs oxygen piping, ventilator and nursing staff.
“This explains the similarity in piping between the ICU and the HDU.
“So, it means that when you are out there, you can still have your oxygen and suctioning,” he said.
“ICU is about ventilation, but the current trend internationally is that, aggressive ventilation is harmful.
“We are not pushing most of the patients to be on ventilation, but when we say ICU, the ventilation has to be in place.
“High dependency, normally, does not require mechanical ventilation, but in the event of an overflow of COVID-19 cases, the systems will be in place as all you need is a ventilator.”
Before the opening of the facility, COVID-19 patients in need of hospitalisation were using Richard Morris Hospital, an eye unit, housed within UBH.