By Mbekezeli Ncube
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Health Services Department’s senior officials have admitted that the country’s second largest city does not have enough equipment and resources to adequately deal with coronavirus.
The local authority’s Health Services Department’s deputy director and coordinator in charge of the pandemic’s rapid response preparedness, Khulamuzi Nyathi said a critical shortage of resources was one of the reasons why Bulawayo could not handle the virus threat.
Nyathi said the Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital run by council only had 17 beds in its coronavirus isolation ward which was malfunctioning as it was last used two years ago.
“The isolation ward at Thorngrove Hospital is not working. It can be closed for months and then when we have a case that is when we open it. I think we last used this ward when there was cholera outbreak in 2018.
“For cholera, the ward was suitable because it does not need to be partitioned, but now that this is COVID-19 and it is a respiratory disease, we need to have it partitioned and be able to isolate people away from each other.
“Of course there is some partitioning that is there but it is not complete. We have made a request to actually have that done. We have submitted the bill of quantities and we are already waiting for action to be taken,” said Nyathi.
Bulawayo City Council runs 21 clinics manned by 200 nurses and four doctors.