By Zbc Reporter
Challenges emanating from precautionary measures being taken against the COVID-19 pandemic are set to affect construction work at Lupane Provincial Hospital in Matabeleland North with the responsible authorities saying the deadline for the first phase initially set for April this year will not be met.
Matebeleland North has been the only province without a provincial hospital but when construction began in 2005, there was hope that a referral health centre will soon be available and reduce travelling costs to Bulawayo for those seeking treatment.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care abandoned the original plan which was used for the current structure as it was deemed outdated and the intention is to come up with a new one which will incorporate modern facilities at a cost of 30 million dollars.
The first phase was expected to be completed next month but Matebeleland North Minister of State, Richard Moyo says it no longer be possible due to the challenges posed by the COVID -19 pandemic.
‘This hospital was built in 2001, but the project stalled because of lack of funds. However, the new dispensation saw this as a priority project and relaunched it. The first phase was supposed to be completed in April but COVID-19 has made it difficult. Some Chinese nationals who went on leave are not yet back from their country,’ said Richard Moyo .
The project foreman Moses Fimbi Kachivevhu also bemoaned the ever-increasing cost of building material which has added another challenge.
‘Machallenges atiri kusangana nawo ndewe maquotations of materials…prices keep on increasing every week,’ said Kachivevhu.
Despite this setback, there is optimism that the Lupane Provincail Hospital will be a crucial service provider for people in Matebeleland north.
Once complete, Lupane Provincial Hospital is expected to serve as a referral health centre for all seven district hospitals in Matabeleland North province.
St Luke’s Mission Hospital is being used as the provincial hospital, with cases being referred to Mpilo or United Bulawayo Hospitals, a move which has a bearing on costs of medical care for patients since they have to meet transport costs too.
Matabeleland North was the only province which didn’t have a provincial hospital since independence in 1980.
Government recommitted $50 million towards the project during the last budgetary allocations, thereby reviving construction of the hospital.
By Zbc Reporter