Govt yet to identify partner for Ekusileni Medical Centre

THE Zanu PF government has not yet identified a suitable partner to operationalise the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s project, Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo, more than a decade after it was forcibly shut down over alleged massive structural defects.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI/NQOBANI NDLOVU

The medical centre has been lying derelict since 2004 after it was shut down shortly after opening its doors to the public.

State-run pension fund, National Social Security Authority (NSSA), contributed large sums of money for the building of the upmarket 369-bed hospital facility.

However, the operationalisation of the facility has dragged on for over a decade, raising questions about the government’s commitment to honour Nkomo.

NSSA board chairperson Robin Vela recently told Southern Eye that they were still scouting for a suitable partner for the project.

“NSSA is working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to identify a suitable partner to operate the hospital. A number of globally-renowned health care operators have been forthcoming with expressions of interest to manage the hospital,” Vela said.

“We believe operationalising this world-class facility will significantly improve health service delivery,” he said.

Several efforts have been made to revive the hospital, but to no avail.

In 2015, a South African firm, Phodiso, was engaged to equip the hospital and the deal was expected to be implemented by April of the same year, but the efforts came to nought.

The hospital was closed after it was discovered that equipment worth millions of dollars acquired by the Zimbabwean Health Care Trust (ZHCT), after renting it from NSSA, was obsolete.

The health facility was initiated as a joint venture between ZHCT and Netcare, a South African healthcare group that provides private healthcare in both South Africa and the United Kingdom.

A super structure development fund was set up which saw NSSA, ZHCT and the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) becoming partners as developers.

MIPF, however, later pulled out of the project, leaving NSSA to develop it on its own and become the sole owner of the property as ZHCT failed to contribute towards its construction. – NewsDay

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