The Sunday Mail
The government has spent nearly $300 million over the past four years to upgrade and equip the country’s health facilities with high-tech medical equipment as part of a program to modernize the health sector and guarantee world-class services.
A total of $210 million was spent on building 47 new health facilities and renovating 94 existing ones.
More centers have been set up separately with decentralization funds.
Thanks to the well-drilling program of the Ministry of Health and Children, more than 200 health centers now benefit from an uninterrupted water supply, while 1,000 clinics have been connected to solar energy.
In addition, $23 million was spent to equip health centers with modern medical equipment including magnetic resonance imaging machines, stationary digital x-ray machines and vital signs monitors.
Following the giant strides made in the sector, the country will soon resume open-heart surgeries, with the government now finalizing the purchase of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (CathLab) equipment needed for the complex medical procedure.
A CathLab is a specialized area in a hospital where doctors perform minimally invasive tests and advanced cardiac procedures to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Childcare, Mr Donald Mujiri, said the government was working diligently to transform the health sector.
“New health facilities have been built and existing infrastructure has been renovated,” he said.
“We have 47 health facilities that have been built and completed, while 94 facilities have been successfully renovated.
“Some 1,074 of the country’s health facilities have been upgraded to have solar power, and 201 health facilities have managed to get water through the well drilling program of the Ministry of Health.”
The 250-bed Lupane Provincial Hospital in Matabeleland North, which is nearing completion, is one of the transformation projects currently underway.
Before work resumed, construction had been mothballed for almost 18 years.
Matabeleland North does not currently have a provincial hospital.
Work in progress includes the development of central stores, a pharmacy, an emergency department, an outpatient department and an administrative block.
Apartments for junior staff, a maternity ward, a surgical ward, a pediatric ward, a dental and eye clinic, as well as prenatal and postnatal sections are also under construction.
“To date, the ministry has invested more than $210 million to deliver quality health care to citizens, with the project once completed expected to provide health centers with 26 out of 20 beds, as well as district hospitals in 5 out of 60 beds nationwide.
The government, he said, has prioritized the procurement of modern medical equipment for its health facilities to facilitate the delivery of world-class healthcare.
“Equipment to re-equip health facilities across the country is worth $23 million. The delivery and installation of the same has begun.
“Equipment includes magnetic resonance imaging machines, image intensifiers, stationary digital x-ray machines, mobile digital x-ray machines, anesthesia machines, ophthalmic microscopes, dental sets, vital signs monitors, Covid-19 virtual hospital equipment, ventilators, theater lights, multi-parameter monitors and ultrasound machines.
The acquisition of CathLab equipment, he added, was at an advanced stage.
“The acquisition of this highly specialized equipment should allow the country to resume open-heart surgery.”
In order to revitalize the country’s emergency medical services, the government is also upgrading its ambulance fleet.
All 63 district hospitals and eight provincial hospitals are expected to receive upgraded model ambulances.
“These ambulances are a lifeline in case of emergency and will be equipped with the latest medical equipment and technology,” Mujiri said.
“Already the government has procured 32 emergency medical vehicles, while another eight have been received from cooperating partners.”
Thanks to government interventions, the country is now on its way to becoming a regional hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing, he said.
“In order to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the drug manufacturing industry in Zimbabwe, the government has spearheaded the formulation of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Strategy for Zimbabwe (2021-2025).
“The strategy aims to increase the market share of local pharmaceuticals from the current 12% to 35% by 2025; local drug production from $31.5 million to $150 million by 2025; local production of essential medicines by 30% to 60% by 2025 and to improve the export of locally manufactured pharmaceuticals by 10% to 25% by 2025”.
Already, the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm), he said, has increased its capacity utilization after receiving working capital.
The pharmaceutical industry regulator, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), has been instructed to prepare to register new pharmaceuticals and upgrade its quality management systems.
“To facilitate the efficient storage and distribution of drugs and pharmaceuticals, the government, through the Ministry of Health, secured $6 million in funding from the Global Fund and a $25 million grant from the Chinese government to build state-of-the-art facilities. NatPharm warehouses in all provinces.
“While the Harare warehouse is awaiting commissioning, the other warehouses are nearing completion, with the others at various stages of construction.”
The Executive Director of the Community Health Task Force, Mr Itai Rusike, said re-equipment of health facilities was crucial.
“We commend the efforts made by the government to build and renovate health facilities,” he said.
“What is important now is to provide them with the necessary equipment and medicine so that the citizens do not struggle.”