Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has released $8 million to fund repairs at Manama Mission Hospital where infrastructure and buildings were extensively damaged by a violent storm early this month.
Roofs of several wards that include the maternity ward were blown off following heavy rains accompanied by strong winds.
The repair work is expected to start early next month after $5 million was availed through the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) and $3 million came through the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
The strong winds and heavy rains which hit the Manama area also left the hospital without electricity after solar panels were damaged as well as water tanks and telecommunications cables resulting in the suspension of critical services.
The suspended services include the expanded programme of immunisation (EPI), maternity delivery services, postnatal care services, isolation of Covid-19 positive mothers, antenatal care services and integrated management of neonatal, childhood illnesses (IMNCI) and mortuary services.
Four departments were severely affected and the hopsital is now operating with just four wards which are accommodating all the admitted patients.
The infrastructure damage at the hospital is estimated at US$40 000 and the labour to repair the damage is expected to cost US$30 000.
People now have to travel to Sengenzana Clinic, which is about 40km away to access vaccination and immunisation services.
Manama Mission Hospital was built in 1939 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) using farm bricks and its roofing is a combination of corrugated iron and asbestos.
Matabeleland South Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) Ms Lathiso Dlamini, who is also the provincial Civil Protection Unit committee chairperson, told the Chronicle yesterday that they were now inviting tenders for the repair work.
“As CPU Matabeleland South, we received $5 million which was deposited into the office of the PDC. The other $3 million has been deposited straight into the Manama Mission Hospital (account) from the Ministry of Health and Child Care. In total we have received $8 million towards repairing the damaged infrastructure at Manama Mission Hospital,” said Ms Dlamini.
Matabeleland South Provincial Public Works Director Mr Sijabuliso Ncube said adjudication for the tenders will be done on Thursday and the results should be out by 5 November. He said repair work should start on November 8 and be completed by the end of the same month.
Mr Ncube said apart from repairing the damaged infrastructure, there was a need to replace some of the old buildings.
“Soon after the hospital was damaged, we went there to assess and cost the damage. The infrastructure damage plus labour is worth US$70 000, which translates to $8 million. We have received the money and efforts are underway to rehabilitate the infrastructure. We are racing against time as the rains can start any time now,” said Mr Ncube.
Speaking at a Matabeleland South Provincial CPU committee meeting yesterday, Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Abedinico Ncube said there was a need for the hospital to be rehabilitated as soon as possible because it was a big hospital serving a very large population. He said they were concerned that the hospital was operating without doctors despite the big population it was servicing.
Manama Mission Hospital is situated 85km south of Gwanda Town and it has a catchment population of 82 500 based on the 1992 census. The hospital mainly services the population of Gwanda South and Beitbridge West.
It also acts as a referral hospital for other parts of Beitbridge District, Maphisa and Kezi. – @DubeMatutu.