Zimbabwe: Wilkins, Beatrice Road Upgrade Complete

10 April 2020

Harare's two infectious diseases hospitals, Wilkins and Beatrice Road, have now been upgraded and are ready to handle more than 300 Covid-19 patients with symptoms ranging from mild to critically ill.

Assisted by Chinese companies and other partners, Wilkins Hospital has 10 beds for critically ill patients, five of which have since been equipped with ventilators and monitors and another wing can accommodate 54 patients.

The hospital now has electricity, water supply back-up.

So far, the hospital has secured five ventilators and is still appealing for assistance to equip the remaining five beds reserved for the most critical patients.

Installation of piped oxygen in the rooms for critical patients has been completed, with an oxygen tank back up of 12 cylinders on standby.

Installation of a four tonne oxygen tank for the rest of the hospital, where the mild to moderate cases can be treated safely in isolation, is underway.

At Beatrice Road hospital, the city health department has prepared three floors, each accommodating at least 80 patients and has reserved rooms for critically ill patients, who might need equipment such as ventilators, although as yet no ventilators have been secured for the hospital.

Only the ground floor is presently accessible to patients while the other two floors require an elevator.

Minister of State for Harare Province Senator Oliver Chidawu, City health director Dr Prosper Chonzi said should there be more patients, they have looked at the possibilities of setting up tents at Wilkins.

Dr Chonzi said the hospitals will continue appealing for assistance from partners. There are three patients awaiting results at Wilkins.

They were members of a cruise ship and arrived in the country earlier this week and are in compulsory quarantine, but had to be brought to Wilkins because they were presenting signs and symptoms of Covid-19.

Beatrice Road hospital has no patients admitted.

Dr Chonzi said the facilities had to be in good shape as they were anticipating an upsurge in the number of positive cases because some of the over 13 000 people who returned from South Africa just before lockdown could have been incubating the coronavirus.

City of Harare has since increased surveillance teams that will be on the look out for all those with symptoms similar to those for Covid-19.

Minister Chidawu, who also chairs the provincial joint operations command, expressed satisfaction with the upgrading and preparations this far.

"The situation is much better now than it was before and I think we should be able to manage cases should we have some now although there are still some investments needed especially here at Beatrice Road hospital," said Minister Chidawu.

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