COMMENT: Thumps-up to Mater Dei Hospital for its vision
IN the next 18 months or so, Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo will be a facility for all, not just the elite.
It will offer a wide range of services catering for the well-to-do and the less resourced. An expansion drive for this to happen is already underway. Construction of structures that will house a retail pharmacy, an 18-bed renal dialysis unit, in-house consultation rooms for specialists and family practitioners is ongoing.
Existing services are being expanded, as we reported yesterday, while tertiary training in various post-graduate courses such as critical and coronary care, advanced trauma care and life support, and theatre operating for medical practitioners has started at St Philip’s, a former convent within the premises.
The health institution will have an orthopaedic department for artificial limbs, braces and supporting devices. It will, furthermore, offer a clinic for cervical cancer screening, post and antenatal clinic, well baby and immunisation sections, an audiology unit and dental clinic as well as 16 doctors’ suites and consultation rooms.
Dr Adolf Macheka, chairman of the board of trustees, said the health institution will offer a medical value chain from primary healthcare, specialist services, in-house referrals, transplants, tertiary training and other services.
“We don’t want to see Mater Dei Hospital just being seen as an elitist tertiary institution only,” he said at a recent 70th anniversary event.
“The paradigm in healthcare has changed. This means that we are moving beyond just expanding clinical services within the institution. You are going to see perhaps within a year the inclusion of things like the retail pharmacy, establishment of a much bigger renal dialysis unit initially with 18 beds, establishment of the in-house consultation rooms for specialists and family practitioners so that we have integrated healthcare from the bottom going up.”
It is clear something big is happening at the hospital and that is plausible indeed.
We encourage Dr Macheka and his team to intensify the work that is underway for Bulawayo desperately needs a health facility of the nature that they are building.
The city has Mpilo and United Bulawayo hospitals, both publicly owned as well as another one owned and run by PSMAS. There are a number of council and privately-owned clinics as well. Mater Dei sits up there in terms of quality of service and facilities.
However, as we have indicated and as Dr Macheka acknowledged, the hospital is not for every Tom and Dick. It is for those who have much money to pay for their health.
But Dr Macheka promised a transformation that will take the facility closer to a wider section of the public. We say, he and his team must keep that promise.
However, in saying this, we aren’t saying Mater Dei must provide health services free of charge. What we look forward to is a Mater Dei that embraces everyone by coming up with a more reasonable fee structure than what applies now.
The people of Bulawayo and, indeed, the people of Zimbabwe, look forward to a hospital that offers a range of services, including specialist ones, at competitive charges so they see no need to travel to South Africa or India to access them for an arm and a leg.