Zimbabwe and Japan have committed US$7,75 million towards the refurbishment and immediate needs of Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (formerly Harare Central Hospital) in the next three months, in line with the aspirations of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which priorities infrastructure development.
Part of the funds will be channelled to Harare Children's Hospital to reduce the infant mortality rate.
The Government has mobilised US$5 million for the main hospital, while Japan will contribute US$2,75 million, which will go towards procuring hospital equipment for Harare Children's Hospital.
The intervention comes at a time when the Government has set in motion plans to refurbish five hospitals countrywide.
Other hospitals primed for renovation are in Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare.
The hospitals will get state-of-the-art equipment comprising bedside Intensive Care Unit (ICU) monitors, an ultrasound scope, operation and examination equipment, a portable X-ray system, bedside Coronary Care Unit (CCU) monitors, emergency ventilators, multi-channel electrocardiographs, an anaesthesia workstation, artificial resuscitators, Automated External Defibrillator (AEDs) and portable vein finders.
The capacitation of health facilities is seen as critical in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number Three which focuses on reducing the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100 000 live births, and ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under the age of five.
The revamping of Sally Mugabe Central Hospital is expected to help in reducing the infant mortality rate and provide healthcare to mothers and their children.
Speaking at the signing ceremony for Exchange of Notes for the procurement of hospital equipment for Harare Children's Hospital, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube expressed gratitude for the continued support from the Japanese government in complementing Zimbabwe's efforts to provide and improve healthcare delivery.
"The government of Japan continues to show unwavering support towards the health sector with particular emphasis on Harare Children's Hospital given their support with the Canadian government in the construction of the particular hospital in 1998," he said.
"We are delighted to have partnered on this occasion with Japan. We appreciate everything that the Japanese government is doing, where you are impacting other hospitals across the country and not only Harare Hospital."
Prof Ncube said Government sought to refurbish at least five hospitals this year.
"The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is working with its partner, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, to revamp the key hospitals in the urban areas.
"We are starting with Harare Hospital and we are delighted to have partnered with Japan on this occasion.
"The idea is to deliver a refurbished hospital in 90 days in the form of a new-look Harare Hospital, then we will be proceeding to other hospitals. We are determined that during the year 2020, at least five hospitals should be refurbished and they should look new such that citizens feel that their health infrastructure has improved.
"It will also enable doctors to work in a refreshed environment where they will feel proud to serve," he said.
Prof Ncube said the Government was committed to fully re-engage with Japan and all development partners to unlock new financial assistance.
Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Toshiyuki Iwado said his government placed priority to the health sector in its strategy to develop cooperation with Africa and Zimbabwe.
"Japan has been in consistent
support of Zimbabwe to achieve universal health coverage. We believe for it to achieve further development in a sustainable manner, the strengthening of the health sector is important," he said.
"Harare Children's Hospital has been playing a pivotal role in the hospital network of Zimbabwe by taking care of patients from all walks of life."
Ambassador Iwado said the grant will be the first step towards Harare Children's Hospital regaining its status as a paediatric centre of excellence.
"Zimbabwe used to have a well-established health sector through its well-organised hospitals like Harare Children's Hospital. I hope that this grant aid will be a first step towards Harare Children's Hospital regaining its status as a paediatric centre of excellence and research, providing a world-class standard of care for sick children in Zimbabwe."
Ambassador Iwado said Japan has supported the Harare Children's Hospital for a long time and remains committed to ensuring good quality services at the hospital.