Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health Reporter
THE completion of Government-funded staff residence renovations at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo will positively impact on service delivery as the upgraded facilities guarantee staff retention and go a long way in boosting workers’ morale.
The milestone rehabilitation has modernised a structure which was gutted by fire in May last year, leaving 39 health care workers stranded at the giant referral hospital, without accommodation, clothes and property.
This project has also seen the renovation of two staff residences at Mpilo with remaining work set to be completed in June.
The other two residences were gutted by fire in 2018 and 2019 respectively and Government resolved to also have the nurses’ home renovated as it was in a dilapidated state.
The fifth project is the construction of an additional block of flats, a plan which was mulled 20 years ago, but had many false starts.
The intervention is part of the Government efforts to transform health care services in line with Vision 2030, which prioritises provision of quality accommodation for health care workers.
A Chronicle news crew visited the projects yesterday and observed that rehabilitation of the Doctors Quarters (DQ) and the “White House” buildings had been completed.
The DQ building, which awaits commissioning, stands out with shiny face brick walls and a spacious bar and entertainment area for doctors. All rooms are tiled and have new cabinets, toilets and kitchen sets.
Part of the renovations included installation of solar lights, water tanks and the parking space for doctors.
Attached to the DQ building is the doctors’ residence, which burnt down last year, and so far, 65 percent of the work has been done to modernise and renovate the residence.
The renovation work was done by workers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army, Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and Mpilo staff.
In an interview, Mpilo acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said about $322 million of the $350 million Government injected to refurbish the buildings has been used.
He said Mpilo staff were grateful for the Government’s intervention, which is likely to improve service delivery and improve staff retention.
“We have made quite tremendous progress with our project to bring back to life our staff residences that were gutted by fire from 2018,” said Prof Ngwenya.
“We are extremely grateful to the Government, which funded this massive project. We have about $27 million left of the $350 allocated for the project.
“The White House is 100 percent complete and awaits commissioning just like the DQ building, which also houses the bar. The biggest structure gutted by fire last year is about 65 percent complete and then a block of flats is coming up well. We have managed to cover the ground floor and we need two more floors on top before we talk of completion.”
Prof Ngwenya said Mpilo had projected the renovations to take 90 days to complete, but they had underestimated the damage.
Architects were roped in to modernise the structure of the residences, which affected timelines, although Mpilo has managed to meet the deadline for the two completed buildings.
“As predicted late last year, we had completed the two buildings by the end of March and now we continue working hard to complete the remaining three,” he said. “Depending on the funding, which we expect the Government to avail, we will finish everything by the end of June at this pace.”
Prof Ngwenya was happy because the new building was a dream come true as it took more than 20 years for construction to start.
“The Government then came with a holistic approach to sort out all our problems dating back to 2018 and more, including the new block of flats, an idea which was approved 20 years ago,” he said.
“This is a visionary way to make sure we have acceptable and conformable accommodation for our doctors. Investing in their accommodation will help in retention so that we don’t have our workers leaving for greener pastures. We are proud of how far our team is working; their dedication is outstanding.
“This investment will also improve our service delivery as Mpilo. It is our wish to continue saving lives in every possible way. Now we await more funding so that we complete the outstanding work.”
Spokesperson for affected doctors who are currently staying at Bulawayo Polytechnic and in lodges, Dr Mischeck Ruwende, said they were happy with the development in their residences.
“I have been to the site and yes, they are at an advanced stage, we are grateful. What we are happier about is that we used to have single rooms and sharing a toilet and bathroom as seven or eight individuals but now we will all have en-suites,” he said.
“Now they have made three consecutive rooms to be two rooms and put kitchen inside meaning our accommodation is now modernised.
“The fire came by but has been a blessing because our residences were very much dilapidated and because of the fire they have been transformed into habitable home for the health workers.”
Dr Ruwende said the nurses’ home was in a “sorry” state and repairing it will help them regain their dignity as healthcare workers.
“There were dining rooms that were no longer working and leisure centres so that we are entertained as health workers,” he said.
“We need a good number of health workers to be accommodated, even nurses, as that in turn impacts positively on the patient because they are guaranteed of urgent attention. We commend this move by the Government,” added Dr Ruwende.
Article Source: The Chronicle