The renal unit at Chitungwiza Central Hospital (CCH) named after the late former President Robert Mugabe’s late first wife Sally has been transformed into a five-bed private ward after years of being useless.
NewsDay reports that the unit tumbled and disappeared years ago.
The Sally Mugabe Renal Training Institute officially opened by President Robert Mugabe in 2011 following its establishment in 2008 had eight dialysis machines that served at least 16 people per day.
By 2015 CCH was offering kidney renal dialysis for free, while other hospitals were charging between US$250 and US$370 for single dialysis secession.
The renal unit collapsed amid plans to start kidney transplants under the banner of the Sally Mugabe Kidney Transplantation Unit announced in 2018 by Moyo. This initiative was sponsored by Mimosa Platinum Mine.
Some dialysis machines were reportedly decommissioned into store rooms while some were transferred to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
CCH board public relations and marketing subcommittee chairperson Lameck Chibvongodze told hospital stakeholders recently that the renal unit was now a private ward. Chibvongodze said:
You know there was an attempt to do kidney transplant and management here. Why can’t we make (the Renal Unit) a private ward rather making it a white elephant? It was opened and it is just opposite the intensive care unit. It is not like the hospital has been privatized, but it is just a facility for those who want to enjoy their privacy. It attracts money that can sustain the hospital.
A CCH employee told NewsDay that dialysis stopped when Moyo was still the chief executive, and some specialists ended up clandestinely using the facilities following its closure. Said the employee:
Right now if a patient gets admitted to the private ward, they pay an equivalent to US$50 per night instead of $150 paid in other wards. It was a better way of collecting revenue because the building was just idle. It has about five beds and every person will be in his or her own room.
The only government institutions with dialysis services left are Parirenyatwa and Sally “Harare” Mugabe hospital, which, however, do not cater for HIV-positive people.