By Bridget Mananavire
Government plans to build a new hospital to replace all functions of the old and overwhelmed Harare Central Hospital (HCH), Health minister David Parirenyatwa said.
HCH was commissioned in 1958 to cater for approximately 630 black African patients.
“We agreed with the president (Robert Mugabe) and others that when you look at Harare (Central) Hospital, it’s an exact replica of Mpilo (Central) Hospital, both of them are very old. If you walk in the corridors, you realise how dilapidated they are, nothing to do with the staff that’s there, but it’s just the infrastructure,” Parirenyatwa said while receiving a $350 000 fund for Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals cardiology department from the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Noic).
“They were built for Africans. This one (Parirenyatwa) was a European hospital and Harare was for Africans. United Bulawayo Hospitals was for Europeans while Mpilo was for Africans. When Independence came, the first Health minister was Herbert Ushewokunze, he said this was nonsense and there was no longer that segregation.
“So we agreed that Harare (Central) Hospital should be built anew, as Harare Hospital, a modern one, with wide corridors and larger windows. And when doctors walk with their stethoscope, it’s really respectable, but we must do the same for Mpilo.”
The total construction value of the new hospital was not disclosed.
He said the project was part of economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), which proposes procuring essential drugs and medicines and basic infrastructural services for referral, provincial and district hospitals.
“But this is a project that we must do. Others have accepted that we must have two district hospitals in Harare, the other one in Budiriro and the other one in Harare South, that’s another development. ZimAsset requires us to build more clinics. Why more clinics? Because we will be able to bring primary health care to get people nearer to health care services,” Parirenyatwa said adding his ministry was “largely underfunded”
“Very much underfunded, but it’s the most important ministry in terms of looking after your health. So whatever you do, be it mining, be it energy, the most important thing is you must feel you are healthy,” Parirenyatwa said.
“When we have these innovations like Noic and others, we are happy. It is not possible that government can completely fund the health sector, but it is possible to persuade government to look at the most disadvantaged . . . to be able to pay for those most vulnerable people, so that they also get care