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The theater recovery room at Beitbridge District Hospital was gutted by fire around 10 AM on Monday, 23 January.
Equipment and infrastructure worth an estimated US$3.5 million was destroyed in the inferno.
The 20-room theater complex normally carries out an average of five small theater operations a day, including around 30 Caesarian deliveries a month.
Beitbridge District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr Lenos Samhere said they are urgently seeking replacement equipment and stores from the provincial hospital in Gwanda so that it can resume work quickly.
He said, “The situation is very bad, we are now just like an ordinary clinic without a theater.
“So, as a stop-gap measure, we are mobilising equipment from the provincial hospital in Gwanda, so that we may in the interim use the small theater in our out-patients department to handle critical cases.
“With the help of other local technocrats from the Public Works Department, we are investigating the cause of the fire and compiling a bill of quantities on what we would need to get the theater working again.”
No one was injured, since the medical staff was still preparing the facility ahead of scheduled procedures.
The operating theater nurse who was the first to notice the fire, Sister Patience Bere, said she was preparing for surgery when she saw smoke billowing out of the recovery room.
She said, “I rushed to inspect the origins of the smoke and saw that it was coming from one of the electrical beds in the recovery room.
“I alerted the hospital management, who then called in the fire services department who contained the fire.
“Fortunately, some patients who had come for surgery were still outside the building and it was easy to move them to a safer place.”
Beitbridge’s Head of Emergency and Fire Services, George Maseko said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.
“It took us less than seven minutes to contain the fire after picking up its source.
“However, the theater recovery room, which had several items of delicate equipment, was extensively damaged.
“We had to strategically manage the fire so that it could not spread to the other 19 rooms within the theater.
“You will note that most equipment and consumables were adversely affected by the heat and the smoke,” he said.
The local head of the Department of Public Works, Admore Tlou, said they had started working on assessing the structural damages to the building.
Beitbridge District Hospital is a referral centre for nearly 300 000 residents in the town and the surrounding rural area of the district.
The 140-bed hospital sees 350 babies delivered each month.