Massive 250-bed hospital for Mat North…$47 million released to complete project

Robin Muchetu in Lupane
THE Government has injected $47 million for the completion of the Lupane Provincial Hospital, a major project that will ensure that Matabeleland North finally has a provincial health centre to cater for its people.

The 250-bed hospital will also offer specialist services for people across the country. Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care Minister, who visited the site of the hospital yesterday morning, demanded that work must resume immediately on the stalled project to ensure that it is completed by next year.

Matabeleland North is the only province which does not have a provincial hospital and the development will usher in a new era to people from the province. Speaking after touring the site VP Chiwenga said he needed to get first hand information on the progress hence his visit.

“The purpose of my visit was to accelerate the construction of the Lupane Provincial Hospital. This project as you are aware started way back in the First Republic in 2004. It had stalled to an unacceptable level and we wanted to find out what was it. When the President came here to visit Matabeleland North Province, this matter was also highlighted.

We have been looking at ways of resuscitating all legacy projects which had stalled during the First Republic and we want to finish them. But what has driven us and we shall continue to come here, is that Matabeleland North is the only province without a provincial hospital in the country. With a population of over 700 000 people, we cannot afford not to have one.”

VP Chiwenga said the completion of the hospital should be done expeditiously.

“The breadth and length of this hospital demands that this hospital be completed as a matter of urgency. And so, we wanted to see what the plan was at that time, what is it that can be done now and how can we quickly complete this project. Government has already put in some resources. By last week we had already put resources to kick start this place. We want to see how we can utilise those resources and go full throttle and have this project completed by next year. We want most of the infrastructure to be done,” he said.

Asked on why the project had taken time to be finished since its inception in 2004, VP Chiwenga said those tasked with such projects have been approaching them lethargically.

“The sum total of it (delays) is lethargy, there wasn’t that punch and push. There is no excuse that we can give ourselves for having stalled this project for such a long time. Now we have to work 24/7 to complete it,” he said.

Matabeleland North provincial medical director Dr Munekai Padingani said the visit by the Vice-President ushered a new beginning in the construction and completion of the hospital.

“We really appreciate the visit by the Honourable VP. He came to see for himself the progress of the Matabeleland North Hospital. He did commit to do what is supposed to be done to complete the project as soon as possible. He did say as Government they have committed $47 million to start work and it has been handed over to the Department of Public Works. The VP said the department should let him know if they need more money for the project so that construction does not stop until its completion,” he said.

Dr Padingani said initially the idea was to complete the project in 18 months, when the first allocation of money was given to Public Works in the third quarter of 2019. “Because of the (Covid-19) pandemic and restrictions, work on the site stopped. We are hoping that this will be completed early next year. The VP told us that in line with Vision 2030, we want to ensure that every provincial hospital has a speciality, for example this hospital can specialize in kidney transplants, the Masvingo one can specialize in heart transplants and so on.

“The Government wants to make sure that district and provincial hospitals have specialists so as to decongest central hospitals. That is the idea.

“We want people to receive the highest quality of care where they are, not to travel long distances to get assistance,” he said.

Upon completion, the hospital will boast of staff accommodation for both junior and senior members, theatres, casualty, out patients’ departments, general wards, peadiatric, psychiatric and isolation wards, a mortuary, kitchen and Intensive Care Unit.

Massive 250-bed hospital for Mat North…$47 million released to complete project