Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health Reporter
WORK on Lupane Provincial Hospital, the first public referral health institution in Matabeleland North Province, has gained pace as the Government steps up efforts to meet the end of year deadline to completing the 250-bed state-of-the-art health facility.
The hospital is expected to ease pressure on Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals which also serve the country’s southern region.
Lupane Provincial Hospital is among the Second Republic’s top priorities hence a lot of resources are being availed for its completion .
It is among the visible developments that the Government has undertaken to upgrade previously marginalised areas in line with President Mnangagwa’s development agenda of leaving no one and no place behind in terms of access to quality healthcare services.
It is the Second Republic’s vision to construct critical infrastructure countrywide to reduce the distance travelled by citizens to access services, one of the tenets of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Upon completion, there will be a training of health specialists at the hospital, a process that will result in the availability of quality health services locally. To underline the work that has been done at the hospital, it will also be the first health institution in the country to accommodate all its health workers on site.
Since 1999 when Lupane was granted the Matabeleland North provincial capital status, the construction of the hospital has been moving at a snail’s pace but that has since changed since the coming in of the Second Republic.
The completion of the giant health institution will bring relief to the largely rural province as patients had to rely on privately run St Luke’s Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital for specialist services.
Treasury allocated $33 billion for the construction of hospitals, with Lupane Provincial Hospital being one of the key projects set for completion this year.
According to the latest report, construction of the pharmacy, central stores, junior staff housing, administration block, eye clinic, outpatients’ department (OPD) and casualty is now 68 percent complete.
“Roofing, internal plastering, internal wall rhino-set is now complete at the pharmacy and central stores. Outstanding work in the building includes the wiring of ducts, electrical fittings, civil engineering, installation of mechanical fittings and flooring.
The footing, sub-super structure brickwork on the footing, and concrete slab pouring is now 100 percent complete for the dental and eye clinic,” read the statement.
“Roofing and internal plastering for the OPD and casualty departments are also 100 percent complete while electrical tubing, brandering and wiring are in progress. Outstanding work also includes ceiling installation and flooring.”
The hospital’s staff residences are more than 70 percent complete.
When Chronicle visited the site, the news crew observed that the waiting shed is at slab level while the substation building is at roofing level.
In an interview, the Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said upon completion, the hospital will revolutionise the health services sector in the province.
He said it will also cater for other provinces as there are plans to make it a specialist hospital.
“We are delighted to witness tremendous progress in the construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital, which is moving at lightning speed as promised by the Government under the leadership of President Mnangagwa. There is massive progress and I have no doubt that soon it will open its doors to members of the public from Matabeleland North and other provinces,” said Minister Moyo.
“We applaud the Government for a job well done in remembering the people of Matabeleland North.
We cannot wait for its construction to be completed so that we can access quality healthcare services from Lupane.”
Since 2018, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has covered a lot of ground in implementing health infrastructure projects ranging from the construction of new health facilities to the refurbishment of existing infrastructure.
More than 47 clinics and hospitals have been built since 2018 under the Second Republic with many more upgraded and repaired. A total of 1 074 health facilities were solarised and 201 health facilities benefited from the borehole drilling programme.
The upgrades in the health system are part of Government’s quest to ensure local health standards match best international practice. –@thamamoe