Funding shortfall stalls Vic Falls hospital’s ICU

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HARARE – A critical funding shortfall has stalled completion of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Victoria Falls District Hospital, Health and Child Care deputy minister Aldrin Musiiwa has said.

Bekithemba Mpofu, Hwange West MP, had asked the deputy minister to explain to the august House when the ministry anticipates to equip the ICU in view of the fact that there is an increased inflow of tourists to the resort centre which may require the services of this facility.

Musiiwa said the project was implemented under the Targeted Approach Programme which came to an end early 2014 before the project was completed.

“However, the project has been slotted in the ministry’s Public Sector Investment Programme but due to limited fiscus space, we have not received funding to resume works,” Musiiwa said.

“We will continue to lobby for its funding from Treasury. You are also encouraged to support central government in capital intensive projects by approaching local business people and companies to plough back to communities they operate from through corporate social responsibility.”

Mpofu also asked the deputy minister to inform the House why the precast wall’s erection at the hospital which was commenced in 2013 still remains uncompleted.

Musiiwa said the ministry of Health and Child Care has already started equipping the Intensive Care Unit with the necessary life support and monitoring equipment to manage critically-ill patients.

“To date, ICU beds and Vital Signs Monitors are already installed in the facility courtesy of the equipment received under the Zimbabwe/China loan agreement.

“However, we have experienced some delays in the last disbursement of the loan and therefore, we have not yet received the patient ventilators which are also critical for the facility to start operating. Alternative funding is being mobilised in order to meet this requirement,” he said.

MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe said Zimbabwe requires foreign currency more than anything else and tourists bring that foreign currency.

“So, when they go to a tourist area, the first thing that they look for is whether that area has got hospitals which are working. For me, what is important for the ministry to do is that they must make sure that they give this particular issue a priority so that the ICU starts functioning because installing equipment does not mean it is functioning.

“So, my question to the minister is, is the ICU in Victoria Falls functioning or not? You talked about ventilators but is it functioning because tourists will not come where there is no hospital which is fully functional,” Khupe said.

Musiiwa said Vic Falls was indeed a tourist hub and one of the major foreign currency earners.

“The current hospital at Victoria Falls has got an ICU that we could say is outdated but is functional. However, because of its new status as a tourist hub of international repute, we had envisaged as a ministry to equip it to that level.

“So, it is that upper level equipment that we are looking at and it is only the ventilators that are in there, but I want to say the ICU is working as I speak now,” Musiiwa said. – Daily News