JUST IN: Groundbreaking virtual hospital to be established

Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter

AFTER the realisation that a lot of Covid-19 patients only experience mild symptoms that need minimal supervision from health professionals, Zimbabwe is set to establish a game-changing virtual hospital which will see between 10 000 and 20 000 patients monitored from their homes.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa made the announcement about the establishment of the hospital after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“In a development set to revolutionise Covid-19 management, Cabinet adopted a proposal to set up a Virtual Hospital for the Management of Covid-19 patients.  This comes from the realisation that most Covid-19 patients recover without symptoms or after experiencing mild ones, which do not require hospitalisation.  Government will establish a provisional figure of Ten Thousand (10 000) to twenty thousand (20 000) home-based beds,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said equipment would be deployed to patients and then redistributed after their recovery.

“A network of health staff will carry out protocol-based monitoring and management of the cases.  The equipment support for this programme is as follows:

  1. Rechargeable oxygen concentrators
  2. Finger pulse or saturation monitors
  3. Non-contact thermometers
  4. Blood glucose testing machines
  5. Blood pressure machines

The equipment will be deployed to the admitted patients and returned when the patient gets discharged.  The establishment of the Virtual Hospital will therefore alleviate the pressure on hospitals. The public will be kept abreast of developments in this regard,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo is set to start admitting patients soon, with Government announcing that refurbishments undertaken on the hospital were now finished.

A brainchild of the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Ekusileni was built in 2001 as specialist hospital but, although it operated briefly, it was shut down after it was discovered that the equipment acquired for the hospital was obsolete.

“Regarding resources, it is advised that the Global Fund allocated US$75 million to complement Government efforts in the fight against COVID-19. The allocation is for three years, from 2021 to 2023. It should, however, be noted that Government continues to provide resources from its own coffers for the Ccovid-19 response programme, with ZW$11 billion having been released since the onset of the Outbreak.

“On a related matter, Government efforts in refurbishing and upgrading health facilities are beginning to yield the desired results. Government is pleased to announce that Ekusileni Medical Centre has been fully refurbished and will soon be officially opened,” she said.

In addition to the reopening of Ekusileni, Minister Mutsvangwa said other institutions had also been rejuvenated.

“Thorngrove Hospital was refurbished and upgraded to a 28-bed fully equipped Covid-19 isolation centre and is admitting Covid-19 patients. The first-ever free orthopaedic paediatric hospital and COVID-19 Isolation Centre based at United Bulawayo Hospital is also set to be soon officially opened. The hospital will attend to children with various orthopaedic conditions, including those with congenital deformities from all over the country,” she said.

JUST IN: Groundbreaking virtual hospital to be established