WATCH: Government steps up health access efforts…Cowdray Park facility ready to take patients

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

The new 20-bed Cowdray Park Health Centre in Bulawayo has been completed and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment as part of Government’s efforts to improve access to health.

The clinic is part of the 30 health facilities being constructed by Government through a US$200 million loan facility from the United Kingdom.

Government is also constructing several other health facilities using devolution funds.

Cowdray Park Health Centre is the second project after the construction and commissioning of Stoneridge Health Centre in Harare.  A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited Cowdray Park Health Centre and observed that the facility is ready to take in patients as almost all the equipment has been put in place.  It has wards for men and women, paediatric, pre-natal and post-natal wards, a delivery room, minor theatre, consultation rooms, environmental room, guidance and counselling rooms, laboratory and isolation wards where patients will be treated under observation, among other facilities.

When it starts operating, it is expected to service the city’s most populous suburb – Cowdray Park – while relieving pressure on Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals, which are referral hospitals for southern parts of the country.

The clinic has medical staff quarters to accommodate families of four health workers and runs on solar power. 

Health workers from various health centres were yesterday being trained on how to use some of the equipment that has been installed at the facility.

NMS Infrastructure Limited Zimbabwe construction manager Mr Donald Fraser said the project shows Government’s commitment to health care delivery.

He said the completion of the project that started in May means they will be able to move on to start the construction of a new facility in line with their contractual obligations. 

“The building work is 99 percent finished and there is one item that we are waiting for which will be delivered from Harare. All the installation equipment is in. We are now doing training for the staff which will take us the next two to three days and then it will be handed over to the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” he said.

Mr Fraser said the health facility will enhance health delivery in the country.

The construction of the clinic is in sync with the Second Republic’s vision of ensuring that people have access to health care.

 “This project is part of the projects that are going on around the country and it is going to go a long way in assisting heath delivery in Zimbabwe. We promise you a fully equipped clinic in terms of service delivery that is up to the standards of the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” said Mr Fraser. 

“We are doing the installation of the facility including the equipment and it is the state-of-the art equipment and after we are done, we hand it over to the Ministry of Health to do the staffing.”

He said members of the public should take ownership of the clinic and ensure that its infrastructure is safeguarded. 

NMS Infrastructure Limited Zimbabwe officer Mr Tendai Gadzi said the clinic has “semi-hospital” equipment.

“Indeed, this is hospital grade equipment in a clinic set up; this is why we call them health centres. They come with a bit of everything to help the local community and relieve pressure on the referrals,” said Mr Gadzi.

“The current status for Cowdray Park Health Centre is that it is 99 percent complete. Which means we are done with installation of laboratory equipment, the mobile x-ray, the anesthesia machine, the patient monitors and the vital signs monitors.”

He said height adjustable beds have also been installed at the health facility which also has a theatre room which can handle emergency caesarian sessions and conduct ultrasounds.

Cowdray Park residents commended Government for bringing health care facilities to their door step.

Despite it being the most populous suburb in the city with a population larger than Hwange and Gwanda towns, it has a small council clinic that is overwhelmed by patients.

Most patients are forced to travel to Luveve and Emakhandeni Clinics.

Ms Norris Dube said the construction of the clinic will ease access to health care for residents.

“We want to express gratitude for this clinic which has been constructed here. We will no longer be stressing about travelling long distances to access health care. At the moment, we are getting health care at a clinic near Cowdray Park Terminus and it is very small. We would spend a lot of time in the queue before being attended,” said Ms Dube.

Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Maphios Siamuchembu said the facility will improve access to health care in the city. 

He said despite having the biggest population in the city, Cowdray Park relies on a makeshift clinic.

“The health facilities that we have as a province are two few compared to the population of the city and that of Cowdray Park in particular. We need all the health care facilities that we can have and when it becomes functional, it will relieve pressure from the makeshift council clinic which is not fit for purpose. I think the people in Cowdray Park are going to love that,” said Dr Siamuchembu.

He said the completion of the facility does not translate to its automatic opening.

Dr Siamuchembu said before the clinic opens it will first be registered with the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe, Health Professionals Authority of Zimbabwe and thereafter start recruitment of employees and all this is yet to take place. – @nqotshili

Article Source: The Chronicle

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