Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health Reporter
A ground-breaking ceremony was conducted in Bulawayo yesterday to facilitate the expansion of the only specialist paediatric facility in the country, CURE Children’s Hospital of Zimbabwe.
The latest development paves way for the construction of an additional 42-bed ward starting next month to increase the capacity of surgery and corrective care for children with disabilities.
The state-of-the-art hospital is part of the United Bulawayo Hospitals and was commissioned by President Mnangagwa last year.
At its opening, it was operating at 45 beds and after the construction of the new building, CURE will have an 87-bed capacity.
The centre seeks to improve access to special orthopaedic surgery and corrective care for children with conditions such as clubfoot, bowed legs, knock knees, rickets and cerebral palsy, among other health challenges.
Its opening reflects Government’s commitment to transform the sector into a reputable healthcare system in tandem with international best practices, in line with Vision 2030.
At full capacity, the facility is targeting to conduct over 2 000 procedures a year.
Statistics already show that over 370 000 children are living with treatable conditions such as neglected club-foot, bowed legs and knock knees in Zimbabwe.
Orthopaedics is a branch of medicine that focuses on the care of the musculoskeletal system. This system is made up of muscles and bones as well as joints, ligaments and tendons.
The country also has approximately 1,6 physicians and 7,2 nurses for every 10 000 people, which leaves specialist healthcare services out of reach for many children.
It is also estimated that about 53 percent of people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe became disabled before the age of 20 years.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony at the hospital yesterday, CURE’s executive director Mr Jonathan Simpson said the hospital has operated as an 18-bed hospital serving 120 children per month on average since its opening.
“The hospital aims to help children from zero to 18 years of age living with treatable disabilities. The opening of this new ward will double our capacity to help children as well as celebrate a new partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation, an organisation which will help us raise funds for the new ward,” he said.
UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said the expansion of the hospital will bring relief to children in need who are flocking to the hospital.
“We remember that our President Dr ED Mnangagwa came to commission this place last year and we are proud to see that CURE is taking it to yet another level,” he said.
“They are building another 42- bedded paediatric hospital making the total capacity to be 84 for the children.
“Specialists and doctors here are already operating children coming from all corners of Zimbabwe and the expansion of the space means they can help more at a given time. They are even bringing in more doctors to assist and we are proud that as Bulawayo we are going to provide such a service free of charge to those in need.”
Mrs Rumbidzai Kwedza, who was representing the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, said Government was committed to the construction of standard facilities.
“We are proud of CURE’s board and partners who continue partnering with the Government in the construction of public facilities that will cater for our people,” she said.
“We are excited about the new venture and we assure them that just like before, we will work hand in hand as we know that this new building will be state-of-the-art just like the other building which was commissioned last year.” – @thamamoe.
Article Source: The Chronicle