Diana Nherera, Suburban Reporter
St Anne’s Hospital in Avondale is expected to open to the public soon as a COVID-19 response centre following an agreement signed by the owners of the hospital, the Sisters of the Little Company (LCM) and the Solidarity Trust Zimbabwe (SOTZIM) last week.
The Catholic Church, the through LCM entered into a joint venture agreement, with trustees of SOTZIM and under that agreement, St Anne’s Hospital will be established as a COVID-19 Response Centre to assist and complement Government’s preparedness and response plan released last month by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Trustee and head of communication and media task force for SOTZIM, Mrs Karen Mutasa said the St Anne’s Hospital COVID-19 Response Centre (SACREC) will cater for members of the public and health care personnel dealing with COVID-19 patients and requiring middle line and high care nursing and medical services.
“When fully functional within this month, SACREC will have a capacity of 100 beds including those catering for intensive care (ICU) and high dependency (HDU) patients.
“SACREC will be run by a seven member management board comprised of representatives of LCM and SOTZIM including members of the medical fraternity.
“In terms of the joint venture, this board will liaise closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care in order to ensure a coordinated effort in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The parties wish to convey their greatest appreciation for the most excellent manner in which the MoHCC and the Government in general has afforded its support to the joint venture.
“This support is in line with the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between SOTZIM and the MoHCC on the 2nd of April, 2020 committing SOTZIM to establishing through private sector effort, COVID-19 response centres across Zimbabwe in both urban and rural districts.
“The SACREC is just one of these centers and its opening is also in line with the vision, mission and ministry of LCM of praying and taking care of the vulnerable, sick and the dying,” she said.
Mrs Mutasa said the parties will advise on a date when St Anne’s Hospital COVID-19 Response Centre will be open and receiving patients.
She said SOTZIM was established by concerned citizens last month as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“SOTZIM aims to ‘flatten the curve’ by making a significant contribution to the delivery of an effective national COVID-19 response which complements Government’s actions by mobilizing resources and volunteers, informing, scaling and supporting other citizen-led activities with a shared purpose.
“SOTZIM’s interventions include contributing towards renovating and operationalizing hospitals in readiness for testing and treating COVID-19 cases, an online platform to consolidate all non-state initiatives to COVID-19, establishing partnerships to provide information and support pre-screening through an adequately resourced contact centre,” said Mrs Mutasa.
She said in Bulawayo, they have partnered with an initiative that has secured the use of Ekusileni Hospital.
“SOTZIM will work to secure the relevant equipment to make these centres (St Anne’s Hospital and Ekusileni Hospital) ready for testing and treatment. Our approach is to secure and import at least three months’ supply of the World Health Organization-certified protective clothing and partnering with an identified local clothing manufacturer who can retrofit to manufacture the equipment as per WHO guidelines. Our target is to raise adequate resources to ensure we are able to adequately respond to the pandemic.”
The hospital closed in 2016 following the termination of the lease agreement between the investors who were running the hospital at the time and LCM, who are the owners of the building where the health institution is based.