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'Bulawayo COVID-19 centres overwhelmed'

by Staff reporter
06 Jul 2021 at 10:31hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over an increase in the number of patients at COVID-19 facilities in Bulawayo, which has resulted in shortages of beds and oxygen at most city health centres.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube, who is also chairperson of the provincial COVID-19 taskforce told Southern Eye yesterday that COVID-19 facilities such as Thorngrove, United Bulawayo and Mpilo hospitals had run out of space for new admissions.

"As a taskforce, we have been doing all we can to raise awareness on COVID-19, but the situation now is very hard for government to manage it. People need to adhere to the World Health Organization policies
so as to curb the spread of COVID-19," Ncube said.

"We are engaged in discussions with people in the health sector to try and find ways of creating space to manage the situation. Our plan is to engage churches to provide more space to accommodate patients because we have been working together ever since this pandemic emerged."

Council health services director Edwin Sibanda recently told State media that the city's health facilities were running out of space, adding that patients now had to share oxygen points, which was not ideal.

He said the situation could be worse in the coming few days as UBH's Old Bartley Memorial was also fast filling up.

"Thorngrove has filled up because from a designated capacity of 28 beds, we have 34 patients admitted, which has seen us having patients sharing oxygen points, which in itself is far from being ideal," Sibanda said.

"What is worrying is that UBH is also filling up, which if it happens, will surely point to a crisis."

UBH, which has a designated capacity to take in 42 COVID-19 patients, on Friday already had 40 patients booked in, with nine severe cases, while four patients are in the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom (UK-Aid) has injected over US$80 000 towards capacitating the Plumtree and Beitbridge COVID-19 quarantine centres set up to fight the spread of the respiratory virus at the country's border towns.

This was revealed yesterday by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA), which is the implementing partner.

ZCA executive director Useni Sibanda said the money was used to acquire and fit solar systems and water pumps at the facilities.

"We were experiencing challenges whereby many people were sent to quarantine centres, but water would run out. We also gave those quarantined some blankets and hospital mattresses," Sibanda said.

Matabeleland South provincial epidemiology and disease control officer Andrew Muza recently said Beitbridge and Plumtree quarantine centres accounted for 10 COVID-19 cases per week out of an average of 5 000 people that pass through the border posts weekly.

Matabeleland South province is the transit zone for citizens travelling between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.

Source - newsday

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