Zimbabweans and Bulawayo residents in particular who have for years waited for the re-opening of Ekusileni Medical Centre, have now lost hope.
Construction of the Medical Centre meant to provide specialist medical services, was completed in 2001 and has been lying idle since then.
The 200-bed hospital was built at a cost of about $4 million in honour of the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo. Many dates have been given for the re-opening of this state-of-the-art medical facility which operated for just seven months before it was closed in 2004 after failing to raise working capital to buy medical and diagnostic equipment but nothing concrete has come up.
This week Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Angeline Masuku said an Indian investor will soon visit the hospital as moves to re-open the hospital gather momentum. Cde Masuku said there were strong indications that the hospital will open this year. “It is a sin that people continue dying as a result of failing to access specialist medical services yet we have a hospital which is supposed to provide such services,” said Cde Masuku.
She said Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa should treat the issue of re-opening the hospital as a matter of urgency. Last year the chairman of the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) board Mr Robin Vela challenged specialist doctors to pool their resources together and re-open the hospital.
NSSA solely funded the construction of the hospital and Mr Vela said his organisation was keen to see the institution working. Mr Vela said then that the country could not continue to play the blame game while the hospital which is supposed to provide specialist medical services remains closed.
He said Zimbabweans should come together and mobilise the required resources to enable the re-opening of this health facility meant to serve not only the country but the entire Southern African region. Now that the Government has placed Ekusileni Hospital on the list of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 100-day programme, all efforts should be directed at ensuring that the hospital re-opens as soon as possible.
Zimbabweans are forced to seek specialist medical services outside the country and the re-opening of the hospital will drastically reduce the number of people seeking such services outside the country and associated costs.
Many Zimbabweans seek specialist treatment in countries such as South Africa, India and Russia but some of the specialist doctors working in these countries are Zimbabweans. This is a confirmation that Zimbabwe has the required expertise and NSSA has therefore provided the required infrastructure through Ekusileni Hospital which local specialists could ride on.
Ms Rudo Moyo from Dawn properties who are managing the hospital buildings, said everything was set for the hospital to be operational. She said the hospital has running water and electricity. What is only needed is equipment and working capital.
It is our fervent hope that locals will partner the Indian investor and re-open this important hospital which has been lying idle for too long.
Public funds were used to construct this hospital and this public investment cannot be allowed to go to waste. The hospital, as we have repeatedly said, is a bankable project whose returns are guaranteed.