By Matabeleland North Correspondent
DOZENS of expecting mothers and patients narrowly cheated death when fire razed down part of the Catholic church run St Luke’s Hospital in Kenmaur, Lupane in Matabeleland North.
According to a report prepared by the institution’s management, the fire broke out at midnight on Monday, destroying property that include maternity beds, screening equipment, drugs and document registers among others.
The estimated damage was put at RTGS$200 000.
The fire, according to the report, destroyed the Family and Child Health DPT Block, Outpatient Clinic, Post Natal Care Clinic, Family Planning Services wing, bookings room for pregnant women referred from clinics and cervical cancer screening equipment.
The fire also destroyed immunisation and early childhood management equipment used by the district Expanded Programme on immunisation and neo natal programmes.
Vaccines for eight child killer diseases that were in the fridges as well as nutritional supplements for children were also burnt, read the report.
“All documents registers were destroyed. However there are no casualties and investigations are underway to establish what caused the fire,” read the report.
A source at the hospital which acts as the only referral for Matabeleland North, said a fire brigade team from Bulawayo was called in to quench the fire which burnt down a bigger part of the facility.
“It’s a sad tale for the hospital and one wonders what will happen to hundreds of people from Lupane and the whole province who come here for health services.
“Some even come from Bulawayo while some are TB, HIV and Aids patients returning from South Africa for screening and treatment because of the service rendered here,” said a senior official who requested anonymity.
Matabeleland North province has no provincial hospital, leaving St Luke’s to carry the burden of providing both specialist and primary healthcare.
Many health care seekers from around the province are referred to Mpilo Central and United Bulawayo Hospitals in Bulawayo.
A provincial hospital in Lupane is still in the pipeline, decades after a foundation was built.
This is not the first time the institution has been affected by fire after it lost property worth thousands of dollars when a fire caused by an electric fault broke out about three years ago.