ZIMBABWE’S second largest referral hospital, Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, requires at least US$15 000 a month to refurbish infrastructure and sustain operations.
A joint report by two Bulawayo non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – Isijula Trust and Masakhaneni Projects Trust – said the capital injection was desperately needed to avert the closure of the hospital.
The report said most the hospital’s wards had been closed because of staff shortages, lack of drugs, water and security.
The two NGOs have launched an international appeal for urgent funding for the hospital.
Isijula Trust chairperson Thomeki Dube told the Zimbabwe Independent that without urgent funding the hospital was as good as closed.
“We are appealing not only to locals, but to the international community to come to the rescue of the people by donating in cash or kind towards the rehabilitation of Mpilo Hospital and other public hospitals.”
Mpilo mirrors the state of other referral hospitals in the country which also face collapse.
A decade long economic crisis has knocked the country’s health institutions to their knees and analysts blame the government for the poor health delivery system due to under-funding.
Hospitals lack basic medicines and drugs while health professionals are often on strike due to poor remuneration and working conditions.
In the appeal for funding, the two Bulawayo NGOs said Mpilo Hospital’s mortuary had a carrying capacity of 30 bodies, but currently averages 250 daily.
“Two of its coldrooms are no longer functioning. The hospital, according to the (hospital trustees), no longer has any linen, while at night the wards become completely dark as there are no bulbs to light up the place,” read the appeal.
“This is compounded by the increased deaths as a result of the HIV and Aids and the increased catchment area as the hospital now has to cater for people coming from as far as Kadoma, just 130 kilometers from Harare, and by the fact that diseases that could be treated when the health system was still operational are now beyond cure due to shortage of drugs and health professional.”
BY JESILYN DENDERE