The Sunday Mail
There was a spring in Dr Obadiah Moyo’s step on Thursday as he showed Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa around Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
The previous Friday, the Chitungwiza Hospital CEO had walked away with the MegaFirst Leadership Award in Outstanding Hospital and Health Care Leader category, the latest in a string of awards bestowed on the doctor and the institution he heads since its official opening in 1986.
Whilst it is quite a phenomenon for a health institution to thrive under harsh economic conditions, Chitungwiza Central Hospital has defied the odds by prospering and exhibiting excellence in service delivery, even surpassing some private institutions.
Its operations are supposed to be financed from national budget grants, however, these grants have been so meagre that they cannot afford to pay for provisions such as drugs, fuel, food and infrastructure maintenance.
Through a cocktail of innovative ideas, the hospital has been dispensing excellent service delivery, which can equal or rival some private institutions, especially in terms of treating facilities and equipment.
From being the first hospital to get ISO certification to bagging several excellence awards, Chitungwiza Central Hospital has seen it all.
And not only that, the hospital was chosen to pilot the e-government project being spearheaded by the Office of the President and Cabinet. This will see the hospital being fully computerized, creating a digitalised hospital.
The major Government health care service provider in the sprawling town of Chitungwiza, with a population close to two million and acting as a referral centre for other outlying areas, Dr David Parirenyatwa praised the hospital during a tour last week.
“We are proud of Chitungwiza Central Hospital, Dr Obadiah Moyo and his team and we recognise the top value that this hospital has become,” he said.
But what makes it unique from other public health institutions?
Joint ventures are paying dividends for the hospital, enabling the institution to upgrade its facilities to world-class standards.
Major areas that were improved by joint ventures include theatres, ophthalmology, renal, laboratory, radiology, training, pharmacy, dental, mortuary, public coffee shop and confectionery.
Speaking during a media briefing after the hospital tour by Dr David Parirenyatwa and other Government officials, chief executive officer Dr Obadiah Moyo said these partnerships have enabled the rehabilitation of most hospital sections that were dilapidated.
“While the hospital is supposed to benefit from the national budget funds, the health sector is underfunded and we can’t be spared hence the hospital resorted to operating in partnership with the private sector,” explained Dr Moyo.
The hospital also works closely with stakeholders in the community that include church organisations, pastors, musicians and businesspeople to raise funds to boost its service provision.
“We always think outside the box. We just don’t sit back and wait for the Government to fund us, so we won’t get tired of begging. We will continue begging for as long as it is to our benefit,” added Dr Moyo.
In addition, the theatre department is equipped with some of the latest six anaesthetic machines, two diathermy plates, LED lights, four theatre beds and laparoscopy equipment.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital was the first health institution in the country to be assessed by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 certification on March 28 2008.
Since being ISO-certified, Chitungwiza Central Hospital has managed to attract more consultants to cover specialities like radiology, ophthalmology, surgery, urology, paediatrics, anaesthetics, obstetrics and gynaecology.
In 2012, the hospital’s laboratory attained first position in Laboratory Quality Management Systems and a four-star rating in a World Health Organisation regional survey.
This year alone, CCH scooped three awards at the Zimbabwe Business Awards ceremony: Zimbabwe Top Hospital of the Year, Company of the Year and Brand of the Year and Medical Services Industry Awards.
At the Megafest Awards ceremony, held on August 27, the hospital bagged the Leadership Award in Outstanding Hospital and Health Care Leader.
By end of this year, the hospital anticipates the re-opening of the kidney transplant unit at Sally Mugabe Renal Institute. The resumption of kidney transplants in the country after a 24-year break is anticipated to save huge sums of foreign currency as renal patients will no longer be required to travel to South Africa, India and other Western countries for transplants.
So far, the hospital has sent eight health professionals to India for an exchange programme ahead of the re-opening of the kidney transplant unit. A team of three surgeons, four nurses (selected from theatre and dialysis) and one nephrologist were seconded to Apollo Hospital, India in February this year for a month’s training in kidney transplants.
“It will help renal patients from travelling to other countries to seek the service and also cut the cost that comes with out-sourcing medical services. Performing kidney transplants locally will certainly save renal patients airfare and accommodation costs of travelling to other countries,” explained Dr Moyo.
Zimbabwe currently has more than 600 patients on dialysis.
World class hospital
The hospital is also set to become a world class medical institution with the construction of a 11-storey building which will house specialist services such as organ and bone marrow transplants. Funding has already been secured and works are awaiting for Cabinet approval.
The expansion of the hospital will see it offering medical air rescue services and other life-saving procedures such as neurosurgery, cardiology and oncology which Zimbabweans have been accessing outside the country.
“The construction of new structures will see the old buildings being converted to nurse training facilities,” Dr Moyo said. “It should, however, be emphasised that all patients, will have equal access to the hospital irrespective of their financial well-being,” added Dr Moyo.
“Our aim is to create a facility that is fully digitalised and we hope it will create new employment opportunities for the local health professionals and administrators.”
Chitungwiza Central Hospital was built by the Government in 1984 and it immediately opened its doors to the community in the same year. It was officially opened by President Robert Mugabe in 1986 as a general hospital. It gained central hospital status in 2005.
Situated about 30km southeast of Harare, Chitungwiza Central Hospital has a bed occupancy of 400 in an ever growing catchment area. The hospital also caters for neighbouring areas such as Epworth, Ruwa, Chihota, Seke rural and Mashonaland East province, with some patients from Harare and even other parts of the country seeking medical attention there.
“There is an urgent need to expand the hospital to meet the ever-increasing number of patients,” he added. The institution, however, is still operating under Government public hospitals service delivery guidelines.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital Timeline
1985 — Started training State-certified maternity nurses.
1990 — Training of registered general nurses (RGN) and State Certified Midwives was introduced phasing out State Certified Matenity Nurses.
1997 — Awarded the Baby Friendly Initiative Award which supports breastfeeding of mothers in maternity wards, children’s wards and the community at large.
2001 — Intensive Care Unit was opened.
2003 — Prevention of parent-to-child transmission of HIV was started.
2004 — Opportunistic Infection Clinic was opened and the hospital began administering ARV drugs.
2006 — Training of State Certified Medical Laboratory Technicians and clinical officers was introduced.
2008 — Steam radio was launched in some wards to provide patients with light entertainment.
2011 — Refurbishment of the hospital started which include the casualty ward, main reception desk and the mortuary.
2011 — Hospital embarked on an on-going computerisation programme.
2011 — Private wards introduced with state-of-the-art equipment.