Nqobile Tshili, columnist
A MAJOR pathology laboratory is under construction at the United Hospitals of Bulawayo (UBH) in Bulawayo, the impact of which is expected to be felt in the south of the country through improved diagnostic services.
Currently, UBH uses three rooms where diagnostic tests are performed.
Authorities believe the pathology center being built will be one of the largest public hospitals in the country.
The pathology lab project had been stalled for years and when President Mnangagwa visited UBH last year, he ordered the project to be completed.
Once completed, more laboratory scientists will be recruited and a number of hospitals will benefit from the testing services offered at UBH.
When a Chronicle news crew visited the referral hospital on Monday, construction was underway, with officials expecting the structure to be completed by the end of the year.
The UBH experienced a major transformation under the Second Republic in accordance with the government’s desire to guarantee the accessibility of health care to all.
Earlier in the year, the hospital’s pediatric unit was expanded to provide services that were previously only available at Mpilo Central Hospital.
UBH is also home to the Bulawayo Orthopedic Hospital, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and only the third in Southern Africa, and freely treats children with deformities. It was opened by President Mnangagwa last year.
The government has also renovated the hospital’s Old Bartley’s Memorial Block (BMB) into a 50-bed Covid-19 isolation center with state-of-the-art equipment, which the president also opened last year.
UBH’s acting chief executive, Dr. Narcisius Dzvanga, said they were excited to build such a massive lab.
“What you see over there is a laboratory under construction.
It will be one of the largest laboratories in the country and will improve the delivery of pathology services in the region.
“It is going to house several departments that fall under the department of pathology and offer pathology services,” Dr. Dzvanga said.
He said construction of the lab had been stalled for years until President Mnangagwa stepped in when he came to commission the orthopedic center and the UBH Covid-19 isolation center in May of 2019. last year.
“Construction started a week ago, according to the schedule of works, we believe that the superstructure will be finished by the end of December.
Subsequently, there will be the loading of the rooms, which means equipping the hospital.
And if all goes according to plan, we’ll see it functional by the end of 2023 or mid-year at the earliest.
They work at supersonic speed; we are impressed that they are serious and that we are serious as well,” he said.
“The president came to open BNB and open this children’s hospital, he said Dvanga, I want to find this building higher than you. The President is aware of this, the Vice President is aware of this and the Department of Health and Child Care is aware of this. »
Dr Dzvanga said the government is funding the construction of the pathology lab and a private contractor has been hired to build the structure.
UBH’s acting clinical director, Dr. Harrison Rambanapasi, said the construction of the pathology lab is expected to transform the delivery of health care in the region.
He said that since UBH is a referral hospital for other hospitals in the Matabeleland region, the referred patients will benefit from the tests that will be carried out at the laboratory.
“The challenge we have right now is that the hospital lab we use is very, very small in terms of the physical space available.
This limits the number of medical laboratory scientists we can hire as they will all be crammed into small rooms,” Dr Rambanapasi said.
“It limits the number of machines you can fit there to perform a number of tests required for patients with various conditions.
So building this lab will give us more space and allow us to expand the scope of testing we can do.
He said the lab will also have enough rooms to accommodate health workers who will be on night duty.
“Basically what I can say is that it’s one of the biggest labs in public hospitals,” he said.
The government has already completed construction of the National Pathology Research and Diagnostic Center at Midlands State University.
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