HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said yesterday his ministry would want the Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo to be operational and run as a specialist hospital.Ekusileni was constructed in 2000 wholly funded by the National Social Security Authority at the behest of late Vice President Joshua Nkomo after two other investors, Zimbabwe Health Care Trust (ZHCT)/Doctors and the Mining Industry Pension Fund, pulled out.
The hospital was tailor-made for the Zimbabwe Health Care Trust/Doctors which has since failed to service rentals accrued since the construction.
It was immediately shut down after it was discovered that equipment imported from the USA had expired.
Giving oral evidence before the Health and Child Care Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Dr Parirenyatwa said his ministry was worried with the continued closure of the hospital.
“As a ministry we are concerned and we have continued to try and facilitate the operationalisation, and on our part we have written letters in support of the centre to facilitate its accessing capital from finance houses,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the ministry was recommending that the centre when operational becomes a specialist hospital.
“We have argued that Ekusileni, Mpilo, United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mater Dei are within six kilometres radius of each other and all of them are doing the same work, they are all general hospitals. Mater Dei is a private institution while the others are government.
“Given the trends and developments in health care, we strongly recommend that Ekusileni medical centre now works or moves more towards becoming a centre of excellence and specialisation in a specific field such as cardiology, orthopaedics or cancer.
“We would like it to be a centre of excellence as a specialist hospital so that it is a bit different from the other three hospitals that are around it,” he said.
Persistence in liquidity constraints and absence of long term capital as well as unclear management and ownership structure has perpetuated the continued closure Ekusileni Medical Centre. — New Ziana.