Major health boost as Pari opens new high dependency unit

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Health Reporter

The Second Republic’s massive investment in health continues, with Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals opening a new high dependency unit that will cater for patients with acute respiratory illnesses and relieve pressure on the hospital’s already existing intensive care and high dependency care units.

The unit, located in a ward that was renovated at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to cater for critically ill patients in need of respiratory care, presently has eight beds which will be expanded with time.

Pulmonologist and head of the respiratory unit at Parirenyatwa Hospital Dr Felix Manyeruke said the ward would offer pulmonary and critical care services to medical patients.

“We are opening up what is called a medical HDU and it has been operational for the past four months. This is a 30-bed unit and we started with eight beds. We are expanding gradually to cater for up to 16 patients.

“Mainly we deal with respiratory diseases which include pneumonia, patients with respiratory distress, asthma, silicosis, lung diseases, post TB lung diseases among others,” he said.

“Parirenyatwa was set up with an ICU and an HDU which caters for both general and surgical patients but what is limited are the number of beds available.

“The eight medical beds we have opened are separate from the current units which are there. This is a closed HDU unit which offers care to medical patients only. We have also been taking in obstetric patients who need oxygen therapy. This is an extension of the services which were already there.”

The establishment of the unit has been done in partnership with the Hunan Province People’s Hospital in China, which has provided equipment and the expertise to train local doctors to perform new medical procedures.

Last week, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora received a batch of medical equipment and consumables valued at US$500 000 from the Chinese Government to support the development of the respiratory care unit.

Dr Manyeruke said under the partnership, Parirenyatwa had also received three bronchoscopy machines and an automatic bronchoscopy cleaner.

In addition, a team of Chinese doctors will be coming in for a simulation lab where local doctors and technicians will be trained.

“Our Chinese partners have brought up lots of models that will be used to train our staff to do intubations and other medical procedures. We are going to set up a centre here to train doctors how to do these procedures. We received equipment for training so that we can train our staff,” he said.

Parirenyatwa offers health care to people within Harare but demand for specialist services has seen more people from across the country coming to the hospital.

Dr Manyeruke said the new specialised high care unit would see more patients coming in as the country had a high burden of respiratory illnesses.

“The burden of respiratory illness in the country is high and asthma is the most common. In the world Zimbabwe is number 14 in terms of asthma deaths so most of these respiratory deaths occur at home.

“This centre will offer health services for acutely ill patients but we also have an outpatients’ clinic, a general respiratory clinic and post-Covid care, post TB lung disease as well as silicosis which affects artisanal miners.

The 20th China medical team captain Dr Ou Yang said the establishment of the respiratory centre would help improve health outcomes for many Zimbabweans.

“The cooperation between Hunan People’s Hospital and Parirenyatwa is a significant step to help bring health care to the people. We are donating equipment to Parirenyatwa to build a new respiratory unit. There are good doctors at Parirenyatwa but there is a lack of equipment to serve more patients here so we are here to help cure diseases and we can save more people,” he said.

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